- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 3, 2002

Excerpts from editorials in newspapers around the world:

Le Temps

Lance Armstrong's victory

GENEVA On Sunday in Paris, Lance Armstrong won his fourth consecutive Tour de France, without suffering and without struggling. A breathtaking victory, almost degrading for the other riders.

It was an exceptional exploit that deserves worldwide recognition and limitless admiration. Unfortunately, times are difficult for sport and especially for cycling. Dragged through the mud for four years by its own competitors, the sport has built new walls around itself. Walls as high as the lies told about doping. Walls of doubt that are, today, hard to destroy.

Armstrong's performance is not immune from this. Because of his difficult childhood, his recovery from testicular cancer, his return to competition stronger than before and stronger than the others, the American is the source of a myriad of discussions. His success seems too perfect to be true, his physical improvement too marked to be natural. He suffers from this, stressing over and over that he has no secret except hard work and a will a result of his illness not to do anything by half measures. In the past, Lance Armstrong would have been a model, a legend, a hero.

The public mistrust that he meets today tarnishes not only his image, but, in a certain sense, the whole future of the sport. For it urgently needs to renew its legends. It cannot live forever on the glory of its past.

If, at the end of his career, the American is left with nothing more than a passing mention in the annals of cycling, it will mean that doubts have taken a commanding lead over enthusiasm.

Business Day

Congo, Rwanda peace

JOHANNESBURG The agreement is potentially epoch-making, if it holds.

It means that for once, the troubled Great Lakes region, and indeed, the whole of sub-Saharan Africa given that similar accords have been signed in strife-torn countries such as Angola and Burundi can now look forward to a happier and better future, unencumbered by brutal and often meaningless wars.

Rwandan rebels will now hopefully no longer pose a security threat to that tiny mountainous country as they have been using Congo as their base, and the mayhem in the Congo itself, which has seen millions of innocent people die, will become a thing of the past.

Bringing peace and stability in this rough neighborhood, which is the unavoidable duty of a leader of a regional superpower, became the task primarily of President Thabo Mbeki. Today's agreement must represent the final piece of the jigsaw, a coup for [South Africa], with potentially immense political and economic benefits.

Even if the Congo/Rwanda deal is signed, there is still much to be done and that can go wrong as verification of all elements of the peace plan is concluded. And leaders such as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe have the capacity to mess up Mbeki's good work. But whether or not the regional peace process has a happy ending, it has so far been carried out with remarkable attention to detail. That has to be a good omen for the region and the rest of the continent.

Just maybe, southern Africa may be turning the corner, and for once, the future begins to look uncharacteristically bright for a neighborhood long regarded as one of the world's trouble spots.

Egyptian Gazette

U.S. attacking Iraq

CAIRO Although denying that military action against Iraq is imminent, both the U.S. and Britain are turning up the heat on the Arab country, reeling under more than a decade of inexorable sanctions. A few days ago, British Prime Minister Tony Blair renewed his unswerving backing for the anticipated assault, the declared aim of which is to oust President Saddam Hussein.

Until new pretexts emerge, the recent debacle of talks between the U.N. and Iraq in Vienna seems to have come as windfall for pugnacious America. Both sides failed to reach an agreement on the return of international arms inspectors to Iraq. Further talks between Iraq and the U.N. may yield a way out, but only if the U.S. stops hurling threats and accusations at Iraq.

The Iraqis understandably want to see their cooperation with arms inspectors for years rewarded. They need and must be allowed to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

As things are ominously standing now, their tribulations are set to deepen, courtesy of impetuous American militarism.

Jerusalem Post

Cash to Palestinians

JERUSALEM In a stunning and inexplicable reversal of policy, Israel decided last week to begin transferring funds to the Palestinian Authority. Acting under intense pressure from the United States, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon authorized the Treasury to hand over approximately 10 percent of the PA's frozen assets. And so, just several weeks after it justifiably criticized the European Union for continuing to support Yasser Arafat despite the violence, Israel itself now joins the list of those propping up his terrorist regime with a steady cash flow. By agreeing to join the dubious list of those financing the PA, Israel has effectively conceded the moral high-ground. Sharon is now playing along with the fiction that the PA is a partner with whom business can be done, even as the terrorism continues.

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