- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Envoy gets King award
The ambassador of Guyana remembers as a boy listening to the words of Martin Luther King and being inspired to practice his teachings.
"His message has assisted me. Whatever good you impart to others, it must be passed on down the line," said Ambassador Mohammed Ali Odeen Ishmael, after receiving the annual King Legacy Award for International Service.
Mr. Ishmael, the senior Latin-American diplomat in Washington, explained that he helped inspire others by teaching King's legacy as a history professor before becoming ambassador.
One of his students is now president of Guyana.
"It means a lot to me to receive the award," he told Embassy Row. "I have been a great admirer of Martin Luther King since I was a boy."
Mr. Ishmael said his grandfather, who used to listen to King's speeches on the radio, introduced him to the teachings of the American civil rights leader.
"His assassination was a shocking experience. People in Guyana saw him as a young, vibrant man cut down in the prime of his life," he said.
Mr. Ishmael received the award on the King annual holiday from the Committee for the International Salute to the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

No free pass for China
President Bush will discuss China's human rights record, its relations with Taiwan and its export of weapons when he visits Beijing, the U.S. ambassador to China said yesterday.
Mr. Bush "will discuss those issues which concern us, while working on the programs and processes that will move forward the vital shared national interests of our two great nations and peoples," Ambassador Clark T. Randt Jr. said at a luncheon in Hong Kong.
The president is due to visit China Feb. 21 and 22 as part of a wider Asian tour.
Mr. Randt thanked China for participating in the war against terrorism but added U.S. concern on several issues, according to reports from Hong Kong.
"But being a valuable member of the coalition does not mean that China receives a free pass with respect to the issues of nonproliferation, human rights, religious freedom and Taiwan," he said.
"As long as neither side loses sight of the importance off our shared interests and respect for one another, we shall be able to manage our differences."
Mr. Randt also said the United States is disappointed with the weakness of Chinese control over the export of nuclear weapons technology.
"We do not want Chinese materials or technology involved in the production and delivery of weapons of mass destruction to wind up in the wrong hands," he said.
"Our experience to date is that China does not have an effective export-control regime for sensitive materials and items. I should be crystal clear on this point. Nonproliferation is a make-or-break issue for us."

Negroponte's diplomacy
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations yesterday showed his diplomatic skill by emphasizing the positive after talks with Syria's foreign minister.
Ambassador John Negroponte played down Syria's criticism of the United States in its first speech Friday as a new member of the U.N. Security Council. Syrian diplomat Fayssal Mekdad compared Israeli retaliation against Palestinian militants to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Mr. Negroponte told reporters in the Syrian capital, Damascus, that his talks with Foreign Minister Faruq Shara were "very productive."
"I think that we share the same opinion on some issues. We may have slightly different perspectives on others," he said.
One of those differences is the U.S. view on Palestinian terrorist groups with offices in Damascus, which is the reason the State Department includes Syria on its list of nations accused of sponsoring terrorism. Syria considers those groups to be legitimate resistance organizations fighting Israeli occupation of Arab land.
Mr. Negroponte, who has also visited Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon on his Mideast tour, said he is there to listen to Arab leaders.
"Syria is a new member of he Security Council, and I think it is important to have consultations with its government," he said.


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