- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2002

Philippines promotion
The Philippines is trying to revive a tourism industry damaged by terrorism with a major campaign to attract American visitors, especially veterans who served in the South Pacific.
Philippine Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon, on a Washington visit yesterday, announced an agreement between Military Historical Tours, an American travel firm, and the tourism department's Convention and Visitors Corp. to promote military reunion tours to the former U.S. naval base at Subic Bay. The first reunion is planned for October 2003.
Mr. Gordon told reporters that tourism will help defeat terrorism by creating jobs.
"One key to fighting terrorism is to remove poverty," he said. "Tourism is one of the best ways to end poverty."
The September 11 attacks in the United States and domestic terrorism in the Philippines contributed to the drop in tourism, which fell to 1.8 million visitors last year from 2 million in 2000.
"The Philippines and the United States will stand side by side as President Bush and [Philippine President Gloria Macapagal] Arroyo are standing side by side in the fight against terrorism," Mr. Gordon said.
He predicted the government will crush the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the Philippines.
"They will not win," he said. "They will be hunted down."
Mr. Gordon is also traveling to Canada, Spain, England, Austria and Italy on a promotional tour.

No ambassador at large
The State Department has rejected India's request to accredit an ambassador at large for Indian immigrants because no nation can have two ambassadors to the same country.
"Forget about it. Don't even think about it," the India Abroad newspaper says in a report this week about India's attempt to get diplomatic recognition for Bhishma Agnihotri as ambassador for nonresident Indians and people of Indian origin in the United States.
Aziz Haniffa, Washington correspondent for the New York-based newspaper, reports that Indian Ambassador Lalit Mansingh appealed to the chief of protocol without success.
Mr. Haniffa, quoting diplomatic sources, said the State Department also rejected a proposal to give diplomatic recognition to Mr. Agnihotri as an adviser to the embassy. The only authorized diplomatic positions are ambassador, minister, counselor, first secretary, second secretary and attache.
Mr. Agnihotri, an Indian citizen and permanent resident of the United States, was appointed ambassador at large by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee last year. He was issued an Indian diplomatic passport.
In a written statement to India Abroad, Mr. Agnihotri said, "From the day of the appointment as India's ambassador-at-large the whole issue of seeking diplomatic accreditation has been directly dealt with by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Embassy of India with the Department of State and is still being pursued by them only."

FARC targets Americans
The U.S. Embassy in Colombia is taking "seriously" a report that a commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia has ordered attacks on American citizens in the South American nation.
"We take all threats seriously. Security is a great concern here," one embassy source told the Associated Press yesterday.
The rebels, known by the Spanish initials FARC, have been fighting a 38-year war to establish a Marxist regime and blame the United States for supplying military aid to the Colombian government.
Colombia's Channel One television on Monday said it had received a transcript of a two-way radio conversation between FARC commander Jorge Briceno and another rebel ordering attacks on Americans. Colombian police intercepted the conversation.
"We must find where the gringos are because they have all declared war on us," he said in the transcript. "You are obligated to fight them as well."
The radio transcript also refers to the rebel mortar attack that killed 21 persons during the Aug. 7 inauguration of President Alvaro Uribe.
"They shot off bombs at the presidential palace but didn't achieve the objective," the rebel commander said. "We must continue."

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