- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 29, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

La Nacion
Colombia's presidential election
BUENOS AIRES Trapped amid the violence and its devastating economic, social and political consequences, the Colombian people went to the polls and elected Alvaro Uribe Velez as president. As such, Colombia is beginning a new phase. And it is hoped that the victorious candidate will be able to place new limits on the guerrillas, the drug traffickers and the paramilitary organizations three points of turbulence that are a reality today in that country.
Uribe Velez won the election handsomely. Never was there any question of a second round: He garnered 53.4 percent of the ballot against 31.4 percent for Liberal candidate Horacio Serpa, the second-biggest vote-getter. … The ample victory for Uribe Velez expresses the majority's rejection of guerrilla violence. Those who voted for Uribe Velez have spoken. … [It is] the courageous Colombian people who are fed up with being the passive victim of so much extremist bloodshed and drug trafficking.

Dagens Nyheter
Bush's Mideast speech
STOCKHOLM With his peace initiative for the Middle East, George W. Bush has again involved the United States as an active partner in the peace process. This is welcome after a long period of passivity. But the American plan raises more questions than hope for the future.
The negative impressions prevail: a lopsidedness and a bias toward Israel that risks blocking necessary steps toward peace and security. Making Yasser Arafat the issue raises the difficulty of Palestinian reforms. It is difficult to imagine the emergence of a more democratic PLO while Israel's occupation policy is applauded by the White House.
As a plan for deeply distrustful enemies to gather around, Bush's speech is not up to the mark. His aides talk about a vision. A delusion is probably a better description.

Jordan Times
Bush's Middle East plan
AMMAN, Jordan The vision of peace U.S. President George Bush spelled out on Monday could, in the long run and with genuine commitment, put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The danger is what could happen in the short term, as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon openly works to preempt any progress in peacemaking efforts.
President Bush's initiative certainly has some positive points. It recognizes the inevitability of the need to establish a viable Palestinian state as a prerequisite for peace.
As the Palestinians move with their reforms, Sharon will try to create new facts on the ground, refusing to engage in serious negotiations. His pretext will be that the Palestinians have not brought about all the reforms Bush asked of them.
Unless the United States acts.
The worse shortcoming in Bush's vision is that it requires that the Palestinians make all the first moves. Only unequivocal U.S. commitment to peace will prevent Sharon from exploiting this requirement to undermine all efforts to revive the peace process.

The Star
Sustainable development
JOHANNESBURG The World Summit on Sustainable Development will be upon us shortly. In the meantime, discussions of variable intensity are taking place.
The final agenda is under scrutiny, so is the state of Sandton's [the Johannesburg neighborhood where the summit will be held] roads, as well as street lighting and road signs. Now it would seem that the price of accommodation is also to become an issue for debate.
The local hospitality industry is no doubt aware of an agreement reached a year ago … that fees would not go up during the summit. Equally, it will be aware that never before has such an opportunity for quick if not sustainable profits presented itself.
We don't believe anyone need feel too bad about this issue. The tabs for large numbers of delegates will be picked up by the United Nations or nongovernmental organizations and, in any case, the rates in rands are fairly cheap for those traveling with stronger currencies.
So let's start focusing on important matters: how to close the gap between rich and poor, how to ensure that conservation plans are carried through and for the sake of the locals how to ensure that Sandton's roads will never again cause so much trouble.

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