- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 19, 2002

'Moment of destiny' for Cyprus

With reference to the "moment of destiny" for Cyprus mentioned in the Feb. 15 Embassy Row column, your readership may be interested to know, for the sake of clarity and balance, that the current negotiating process on the island is not taking place between "Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides" and "Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash," but between two leaders of equal status. This fact is borne out by the relevant documents of the United Nations and the Good Offices Mission of the Secretary-General, which are based on the political equality of the two parties.

It also is significant to note that the face-to-face talks started at the initiative of President Denktash, who wrote three successive letters to his Greek-Cypriot counterpart, Mr. Clerides, urging him to come to the table. Mr. Clerides accepted the invitation. The question now is whether the international community will rise to the occasion by treating the two parties to the dispute on an equal basis in all aspects of life.


OSMAN ERTU

Representative

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Washington Office

Washington

Science supports anti-milk campaign

Your Feb. 4 article "A smear campaign against milk?" left out the evidence that intelligent readers need to understand why scientists are concerned about milk. Perhaps most worrisome is the fact that at least 16 studies have linked milk consumption with prostate cancer. A U.S. Department of Agriculture expert panel recently acknowledged the association, blaming it on milk's fat content. However, research suggests that skim milk may be linked even more strongly to prostate cancer risk because of its effects on a man's hormones. Among other problems, milk drinking boosts blood levels of a protein called insulinlike growth factor-I, believed to be a potent stimulus for cancer cell growth.

A 1994 American Academy of Pediatrics review pointed out that at least 90 studies had examined the links between cow's milk and type 1 diabetes. The concern is that dairy proteins may elicit an immune reaction that kills off the insulin-producing cells. Our hope is that avoiding early exposure to cow's milk proteins could help prevent this deadly disease. Milk drinking also interferes with iron absorption and contributes to some cases of arthritis, constipation, asthma and migraines as well as the digestive miseries of lactose intolerance.

Milk does not protect the bones. The Harvard Nurses' Health Study followed nearly 78,000 women over 12 years, finding that those who got the most dairy calcium actually had more bone breaks than women who got little or no dairy calcium. Similarly, a 2000 study of children in their peak bone-building years showed that variations in dietary calcium from milk or any other source made no difference.

What does protect the bones? Avoiding sodium and animal protein (both of which drain calcium into the urine), avoiding smoking and getting plenty of exercise. Add sunlight for vitamin D and plenty of fruits and vegetables for the vitamins C and K needed for bone proteins.

What about the studies the milk industry cites to suggest that dairy products might help the bones? Many studies are confounded by the use of calcium supplements (which omit milk's calcium-draining sodium and animal protein) and by the use of vitamin D-fortified milk. Vitamin D has bone-protecting effects of its own.

Milk is nature's food for calves. Humans need breast milk, and after the age of weaning, there is no need for milk.


NEAL D. BARNARD, M.D.

Washington


The writer is president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Don't be bashful about 'nation-building'

Jack Kemp hesitates to endorse "nation-building" in Afghanistan, but his detailed prescriptions for economic and security policies amount to exactly that ("Nurturing Afghanistan renewal," Commentary, Feb. 13).

Fortunately for the United States and other donors, the burden of that task is eased by reliance on the United Nations, which is involved in everything from refugee relief to rebuilding a minimal central government in Kabul. As security is established, Afghans will be able to face the tax, trade and property rights policies Mr. Kemp recommends.

Mr. Kemp shouldn't be bashful about endorsing nation-building, nor should conservatives hesitate to endorse the use of U.N. agencies as practical tools in Afghanistan's long-term reconstruction. Our work in Afghanistan is not a romantic exercise; America's security requires that we help Afghans rebuild their country in a way that prevents the Taliban from ever returning to power.

If this requires breaking a few political taboos, so be it.


PHILIP PETERS

Vice president

Lexington Institute

Arlington

No FARC in Peru

Allow me to express my appreciation for your editorial meeting last week with the foreign ministers of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru and for the subsequent editorial, "The message from the Andes." I also appreciate the news coverage you have given to the Andean Trade Preferences Act a matter of crucial importance to the economies of the four Andean countries.

I should also like to point out an inaccuracy in your Feb. 15 editorial. You state that while the foreign minister of Peru, Diego Garcia Sayan, denied in a meeting with your editorial board last week that the FARC guerrillas from Colombia have penetrated, or are penetrating, Peruvian territory, I had said the contrary during a previous meeting with the editorial board of your paper. According to the editorial, I said that the FARC are assisting Peruvian guerrillas with arms and poppy seeds.

If you review the records of our conversation, what I said is that drug traffickers are returning to Peru because of the absence of aerial interdiction and the success of the anti-drug programs in the countries of the region, among other factors. At no time did I say that FARC had penetrated Peruvian territory or were aiding the Shining Path guerrilla movement with arms or poppy seeds. What I said on that occasion and you cited it verbatim in your Dec. 30 editorial "Terrorism down south" is that "As we succeed in fighting drugs and terrorism in Colombia … drug-traffickers are trying to come back to Bolivia and Peru."

Thank you for allowing me to clarify what I am sure was an involuntary misunderstanding.


ALLAN WAGNER

Ambassador of Peru

Embassy of Peru

Washington

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