- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 1, 2002

Greece stands by U.S.

The new Greek ambassador, presenting his diplomatic credentials to President Bush this week, pledged his country would continue to wage war against terrorism. Mr. Bush responded with praise for Greece's recent arrests of suspected terrorists from the November 17 network.

"As we enter a new millennium and the world is experiencing profound changes and challenges often degenerating to asymmetric threats and other sources of instability, the United States and Greece stand side by side to face them in a coordinated and effective manner," Ambassador George V. Savvaides said at the White House ceremony on Tuesday.

"Greece is deeply conscious of her specific role and responsibility within her geographical region to offer its contribution in this respect. Such a contribution may also provide to America a very good platform for serving both Greek and U.S. interests in the Balkans, in the Mediterranean and the broader region."

Mr. Bush said he was "pleased" by the arrests of six suspected members of the November 17 terrorist group, accused of robberies and murders over a 27-year period. The group also was blamed for the 1975 killing of Richard Welch, the CIA's station chief in Greece.

"Greece is a valued friend of the United States," Mr. Bush said. "Our countries have long-standing and close political, economic and cultural ties based on a common heritage and shared values.

"The September 11 attacks were not directed only against the nearly 3,000 innocent people from around the world who perished but against the shared values of democracy, freedom and tolerance."

He noted that both countries have an "open, free society" that makes them vulnerable to terrorists.

"However, we will not allow the terrorists to prevail," the president said.

Mr. Savvaides, 57, previously served as secretary-general of the Greek Foreign Ministry. He was Greece's ambassador to NATO from 1996 to 2000. The ambassador is a graduate of Harvard University's law school.

Satisfied in Indonesia

The U.S. ambassador to Indonesia says the United States is getting good cooperation in the war on terrorism from the world's most populous Muslim nation, as Secretary of State Colin L. Powell prepares to stop there today on his Asian tour.

"We are pleased with the cooperation that we've had to date with Indonesia," Ambassador Ralph Boyce told reporters in Jakarta this week.

He said Mr. Powell will not concentrate only on anti-terrorist issues in his talks tomorrow with President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda.

"During the talks, he will discuss bilateral relations, not especially on terrorism, but also the economic reform program, military ties and to hear the voice of Islamic groups," Mr. Boyce said.

Indonesian Defense Minister Matori Abdul Jalil yesterday said the military is strong enough to combat terrorism without U.S. help.

"America knows exactly how powerful our armed forces are," he told reporters.

He also insisted that Indonesia was fighting terrorism in its own national interests, "not because of the result of demands by the U.S."

Jordan's lawyers object

The Jordanian Lawyers' Union, dominated by Islamic fundamentalists, yesterday denounced U.S. criticism of the Egyptian court conviction of an Egyptian-American human rights activist.

The union said the U.S. Embassy in Cairo violated diplomatic protocol by publicly expressing its disappointment in the sentencing of Saad Eddin Ibrahim. He was sentenced this week to seven years in prison for claiming Egyptian election fraud and accepting foreign money for his Ibn Khaldun Center.

"The American Embassy statement in Cairo is a flagrant violation of all diplomatic norms and a scandalous attack on Egyptian sovereignty and the independence of Egypt's judicial authority," the union said in a statement released in Amman, Jordan.

The lawyers also criticized Arab human rights organizations that accepted foreign funds. The European Union, which also criticized the sentence, provided some funds to Ibrahim's organization to promote human rights in Egypt.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher on Tuesday expressed Egypt's displeasure over the embassy statement.

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