- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 3, 2002

High-tech ambassador
Jordan appointed a high-tech business executive as its new ambassador to the United States yesterday.
King Abdullah II named Karim T. Kawar to take over the post vacated in January by Marwan Muasher, now Jordan's foreign minister.
Mr. Kawar has no diplomatic experience but is a close friend of the king's. Queen Rania worked in Mr. Kawar's company before her marriage in 1993.
Mr. Kawar's appointment to the Washington position reflects King Abdullah's desire to tap a younger generation to present a more modern side to the Hashemite kingdom.
Mr. Kawar, 38, has also served on the king's economic advisory council and as chairman of Jordan's Information Technology Association.
He wants to promote Jordan as a high-tech center in the Middle East and streamline burdensome government regulations to encourage small businesses.
"King Abdullah believes in this [high-tech] industry, its potential and, most importantly, he believes that the Jordanian people are capable of playing a key role in this global industry," Mr. Kawar was quoted as saying in an interview in March 2000 with Wired News.
Mr. Kawar also realizes the necessity of protecting copyrights, trademarks and patents if a country is to attract foreign investment.
"You cannot attract investors into a market that does not respect intellectual property," he told Business Trends magazine last year.
He also called for reforming regulations that place undue restraints on business. One such law requires a business to show a profit for three consecutive years before it can go public.
"That limits companies being able to access the capital market," he said.
Mr. Kawar, in the same interview, said Jordan should emulate Ireland, which reversed years of economic decline by deregulating and encouraging foreign investment.
"Ireland has been a great success story," he said.

Peace in Philippines
The United States endorsed yesterday the Philippines' peace talks with Muslim separatists in the southern part of the island nation.
U.S. Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone accompanied President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on a visit to the former rebel base of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the island of Mindanao, Agence France-Presse reported.
"I'm very pleased to confirm to you Madam President, as your government reaches an agreement with the [rebels], my government is prepared to stand with you in supporting that agreement," he said.
Mrs. Arroyo replied: "We now live in peace with the MILF. I'm so happy to hear from the U.S. ambassador that the United States supports the peace talks between the government and the MILF."
The rebels maintained their base camp on Mindanao until the Philippine army ousted them in 1999. The group signed a cease-fire with the government last year, ending its 24-year fight for a separatist Islamic state.

Special Taiwan relations
The new U.S. envoy to Taiwan arrived this week with a special message from the Bush administration.
Douglas Paal, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, told reporters that he had had extensive talks with administration officials before he left Washington.
"They made clear to me that Taiwan enjoys especially warm respect among them, and among Americans generally, for its political and economic achievements," he said.
Mr. Paal arrives at a time of increased Chinese military activity that U.S. intelligence officials fear is aimed at Taiwan. China tested a new Russian-made air-to-air missile last week and has acquired Israeli-made air-launched drones capable of destroying radar systems, The Washington Times reported.
Chang Siao-yue of Taiwan's Foreign Ministry told reporters yesterday: "We welcome Mr. Paal. He is very familiar with cross-strait affairs [with China] and the eastern Asian situation."
Mr. Paal replaced Raymond F. Burghardt, now U.S. ambassador to Vietnam. Mr. Paal is the former director of the Asia Pacific Policy Center in Washington and served on the National Security Council in the Reagan and the previous Bush administrations.


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