- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Czech view of future
Czech Ambassador Martin Palous warned his compatriots in Central Europe against indulging in their worst habits of romanticizing the past, as they prepare for a future in NATO.
Central Europe can be a "relevant player in the contemporary world" if the countries in the region "free themselves from fascination with their own narrow-minded, often isolationist perspectives" and embrace "genuinely transatlantic foreign policies," Mr. Palous wrote in the Czech Embassy newsletter.
"They should try to have a clear, realistic vision of the future that can be discussed and shared with their main partners and allies and to act accordingly," he said.
Mr. Palous noted the progress Central Europe has made since the collapse of communism in 1989.
"It is certainly not for our own satisfaction that we have finally undone the past and reversed the adversities of our modern history," he said. "We have set a positive example of democratic transition for the others who are still waiting for their chance at liberation in this changing world at the beginning of the 21st century."
Mr. Palous, whose country will host the NATO summit in November, noted that many observers are questioning the ability of the alliance to absorb as many as 10 new members.
"Will NATO survive as a strong and efficient defense organization, or rather, is it in the process of withering away, diluted by expansions and melting down in the changed security environment?" he asked, referring to the threats of terrorism.
Mr. Palous predicted NATO will adapt to the challenges and "gradually win the war against international terrorism." He also said that "new cooperative models are being created for a peaceful coexistence with the Russian Federation and Ukraine."

Haiti's moment of truth
The United States yesterday called on Haiti to punish those responsible for political violence and to establish the rule of law.
Roger Noriega, the U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States, said Haiti must adopt recommendations of an OAS delegation that in January urged the government to accept a "political accord" with the opposition and hold free elections.
Mr. Noriega, who took over the three-month chairmanship of the OAS Permanent Council, said, "I am assuming this office at a moment of truth for Haiti.
"It is essential that the government of Haiti move decisively to end impunity and establish the rule of law and that both sides agree to fair elections and to finish the initial political accord in the days ahead," he added.
The accord, which is under consideration by Haiti's political parties, calls for:
The establishment of a credible and independent council to oversee local and national elections.
Security to ensure the conduct of free election.
A national dialogue to promote democracy, human rights, the economy and social development.
And a commitment to normalizing Haiti's international economic relations.

Envoy to Panama
President Bush has selected a career diplomat with strong Latin America experience as the next ambassador to Panama.
Linda Ellen Watt has served as political adviser to the Pentagon's Southern Command, which covers 13 countries in the Caribbean and 19 in Central and South America.
She is a former deputy chief of mission in the Dominican Republic and has served as deputy executive director of the State Department's Western Hemisphere bureau.

Malaysian cooperation
The U.S. ambassador to Malaysia has praised the country's "strong and vibrant" cooperation in the war on terrorism.
"The Malaysians have shown outstanding cooperation on terrorism, partly because they see it as a threat to their own stability," Ambassador Marie T. Huhtala said at a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce last week.
Over the past year, Malaysian authorities have arrested more than 60 suspected members of a group linked to the al Qaeda terrorist network. They are being held without trial under the Internal Security Act.
"We are satisfied that they had good reasons for the arrests," Mrs. Huhtala said. "These people were terrorists."


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