- The Washington Times - Friday, March 22, 2002

OAS condemns attack

The Organization of American States yesterday condemned the Wednesday car bombing near the U.S. Embassy in Peru that killed seven persons.

Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria said the OAS "mourns with the families of all the victims and categorically repudiates this cruel attack."

He said the attack was an attempt to disrupt tomorrow's meeting in the Peruvian capital, Lima, between President Bush and the leaders of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

"Once more, we see the evil link between drugs and terrorism," he said. "These tragic events strengthen our resolve to continue in the hemispheric struggle against those threats."

He applauded Mr. Bush's decision to continue his visit to Peru. Mr. Bush stopped in Monterrey, Mexico, yesterday for the U.N. development summit and was due to meet Central American leaders Sunday in El Salvador.

"This demonstrates the priority the American government has given to hemispheric affairs. Despite this barbaric act, it remains firmly committed to strengthening the ties of friendship and cooperation among our countries," Mr. Gaviria said.

Cyprus listening tour

A top U.S. diplomat arrived in Cyprus this week in what he called a "listening mode," as Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot leaders continued landmark talks on reunifying the island by an ambitious June deadline.

Thomas Weston, the State Department's special coordinator for Cyprus, said he arrived at a "very propitious time" but expressed concern that the talks were moving too slowly.

Direct talks began in January between Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides, representing the internationally recognized Greek-Cypriot government, and Rauf Denktash, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey.

Alvaro de Soto, a representative of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is monitoring the meetings.

Mr. Weston told reporters, "I am here very much in a listening mode but also in a mode to do whatever we can to support the process, in particular to support the secretary-general and [Mr.] de Soto."

The Greek Cypriot government wants a settlement consistent with U.N. resolutions that call for a settlement based on a federation of the two communities under a single sovereign government. The Turkish side wants a union of two equal states with a weak central authority.

"We want a central partnership of two independent states united but with maximum autonomous powers," Osman Ertug, the Turkish-Cypriot representative in Washington, said in a recent interview.

Mr. Ertug said the Turkish-Cypriot entity had been functioning as a virtual nation since it declared independence in 1983.

"We run our own affairs. We legislate ourselves. We administer ourselves," he said.

The divisions between the two communities run deep. The Greek-Cypriots accuse Turkey of invading and occupying the northern part of the island. Turkish-Cypriots view the Turks as their defenders against ethnic violence by the Greek-Cypriot majority.

Web site premier

The French Embassy today opens a revamped Web site with tourist information, news about France, advice for business travelers and much more.

The site is "offering the American public nearly 15,000 pages of information about France with enhanced navigation and search facilities," said Anne Volpert, the embassy's multimedia attache.

It includes a new section on French-American relations, which includes all treaties signed by the United States and France over the past 200 years, and one on "Visiting France" with tips for tourists and business visitors.

The news section includes an interview French President Jacques Chirac gave to the International Herald Tribune this week, discussing his views on global trade.

The Web site is www.ambafrance-us.org.

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