- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2002

Turkey still bridesmaid
Germany is anxious to repair tattered relations with the United States after September's sometimes nasty elections, but that does not mean instant support for Washington's ally, Turkey, in its bid to join the European Union, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said here yesterday.
Speaking at a breakfast for reporters at the residence of German Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, Mr. Fischer compared joining the 15-nation EU to a marriage but said the wedding bells are not ringing quite yet for Turkey.
Successive U.S. administrations have strongly backed Turkey's integration into Europe, citing its strategic value. Mr. Fischer said the EU understands Turkey's importance and does not rule out membership someday, but "you do not marry somebody as a favor to a third party."
At their recent summit in Copenhagen, EU nations held out the prospect of accession talks with Ankara down the road, but did not give Turkey a date or a deadline as was promised 10 other Central and Eastern European hopefuls. Mr. Fischer said EU membership is about more than security considerations, with human rights, democratic values and government practices all at issue.
Mr. Fischer's visit, which included a meeting Wednesday with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, was clearly a fence-mending exercise. It followed testy exchanges over German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's criticism of U.S. policy on Iraq during his recent re-election campaign, our correspondent David R. Sands reports.
German officials announced yesterday that Defense Minister Peter Struck will visit Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld Nov. 11. The Pentagon chief had been particularly critical of Mr. Schroeder's rhetoric.
Mr. Fischer added, "We have to live with differences inside the family without getting in a bad atmosphere."

Noble freedom struggle
Pakistani Ambassador Ashraf Qazi pledged his country will "never compromise" on its support for the "noble freedom struggle" of the Kashmiri people.
He also insisted that India is "bound by U.N. resolutions" to seek a peaceful resolution to the disputed Himalayan territory, split between the two South Asia nuclear rivals.
"Pakistan will never compromise on its time-honored principled stand of supporting the just and noble freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people," he told guests at a Pakistani Embassy reception to mark the anniversary of the "Kashmir Black Day" when Indian troops entered the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947.
He said that "Pakistan will continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of Kashmir."
India accuses Pakistan of supporting Muslim terrorists bent on forcing the consolidation of Kashmir under Pakistani control. Pakistan denies the charges and says it is trying to prevent guerrilla infiltration into India.
Pakistan this week also criticized Robert Blackwill, the U.S. ambassador to India, for implying that Pakistan is responsible for "cross-border terrorism" in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
"The observation is incorrect. Such ill-considered remarks only serve to create complications," the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
"It would be better if the U.S. ambassador in New Delhi were to desist from pronouncing himself on Pakistan-India issues and instead focus on U.S.-India relations."
Mr. Blackwill on Tuesday said, "The problem in Kashmir is cross-border terrorism. It's virtually now, in my judgment, entirely externally driven."

Stolen Kuwaiti history
Iraq is still withholding information about Kuwaiti prisoners of war and key governmental documents stolen during Iraq's occupation of its neighbor, Kuwaiti officials here said yesterday.
Tareq Mezrem of the Kuwait Information Office said Iraq recently delivered 409 boxes of material that contained "little more than copies of passports and irrelevant documents."
Iraq claimed Kuwait as its 19th province when it invaded in 1990 and began confiscating key government documents that pertained to Kuwait's history.
"We have a whole history that is tied to our ministries, government institutions and private institutions," Mr. Mezrem said.
Iraq also continues to refuse to account for 605 POWs missing from the war.

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