- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Thanks to Jordan

The U.S. ambassador to Jordan praised the kingdom's security forces for the arrest of two suspected al Qaeda terrorists for the killing of an American diplomat.

"I am extremely pleased with the announcement of arrests made in the murder of Laurence Foley," Ambassador Edward Gnehm said in a statement on Sunday.

"I extend my deepest gratitude to the Jordanian government and its security officials and commend the diligence and aggressiveness with which they have pursued those responsible for Larry Foley's death."

Mr. Foley, a 62-year-old official with the U.S. Agency for International Development, was shot eight times on Oct. 28 outside his home in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

Jordan arrested Salem Saad Salem bin Soued, a Libyan, and Yasser Fathi Ibrahim, a Jordanian. Officials said they admitted killing Mr. Foley and said they were members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network.

Meanwhile, the director of the Peace Corps arrived in Amman yesterday to discuss the suspension of the program because of security concerns in Jordan.

Gaddi Vasquez is scheduled to meet King Abdullah II and other officials as part of what the U.S. Embassy said is a "wider tour of Peace Corps missions, including a review of activities in Armenia."

Mr. Vasquez's visit was arranged before he announced the suspension of the program on Nov. 23.

He made the decision after the State Department approved the withdrawal of nonessential diplomatic personnel because of Mr. Foley's slaying.

Georgia's Commando

Georgia's new anti-terrorist brigade symbolizes the former Soviet republic's commitment to the war against terrorism, the U.S. ambassador to Georgia said as he watched the U.S.-trained troops parade through the capital, Tbilisi.

"The soldiers standing before us are ready and able to guarantee the internal security and regional stability of Georgia," Ambassador Richard Miles said.

"And what is more is that the Train and Equip Program is the symbol of Georgia's support for the global war on terror."

The 550-man commando battalion was the first unit to complete a grueling, four-month specialized course under a $64 million U.S. Train and Equip Program that is scheduled to train 1,700 soldiers over a two-year period.

The battalion will be deployed in Georgia's lawless Pankisi Gorge region, which is now a haven for Chechen rebels from neighboring Russia and suspected members of the al Qaeda terrorist network.

Olympics in Greece

Greek Ambassador George Savvaides today will brief reporters on Greece's preparations for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, where the ancient games were revived in 1896.

Mr. Savvaides will hold a 4 p.m. news conference in the National Press Club's Murrow Room.

"Ambassador Savvaides will present an update of the Olympic preparations for a unique celebration of sports and culture, linking the ancient with the modern and of the legacy of the games for Greece and the Olympic movement," the Greek Embassy said.

Slovak departs

Slovak diplomat Jan Orlovsky plans to return to Slovakia at the end of the month to begin a new career in business.

Mr. Orlovsky, the Slovak Embassy's political officer, will be replaced by Miroslav Wlachovsky, an adviser to Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda.

Taiwanese arrives

The new spokesman for Taiwan's office in Washington holds a doctoral degree in communications from Ohio University.

Stephen Chang replaced Eric C.C. Chiang last month as director of the information division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.

Mr. Chang also holds a master's degree in journalism and has worked for the Taiwanese Government Information Office for 20 years. He served as director of the government Department of Radio and Television Affairs for the past three years and helped reform Taiwan's media regulatory bodies.

Mr. Chiang has returned to Taiwan. He was promoted to counselor in the information office.

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