- The Washington Times - Friday, November 8, 2002

Lugar returns

If ambassadors want to find the power in the next Senate as far as foreign affairs go, they need look no further than Room 306 of the Hart Senate Office Building, the office of Indiana Republican Sen. Richard G. Lugar.

Mr. Lugar will assume the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next year for the first time in 16 years, his staff said yesterday.

When he last served as chairman, Ferdinand Marcos was president of the Philippines and Latin America was beset with banana republics and Marxist revolutionaries.

Mr. Lugar was the second most senior Republican on the committee after Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina. With the retirement of Mr. Helms, he will become chairman under the new Republican majority and replace Democratic Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.

He enunciated his "Lugar Doctrine" of foreign policy after September 11 last year when he declared that the United States will use "all of its military, diplomatic and economic power without question to ensure that life-threatening weapons of mass destruction everywhere are counted, contained and hopefully destroyed."

"The very existence of our country is threatened by terrorists who are operating in a world awash with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction," he said at the time.

"Throughout much of the last decade, vulnerability to the use of weapons of mass destruction has been the number one national-security dilemma confronting the United States, even as it received scant attention.

"The events of September 11 and the subsequent public discovery of al Qaeda's methods, capabilities and intentions has finally brought our vulnerability to the forefront."

White House Ramadan

Muslim diplomats gathered last night at the White House to break their daily Ramadan fast at a dinner hosted by President Bush.

"The president is honoring Islam," Bahrain Ambassador Khalifa Ali al-Khalifa told Embassy Row yesterday.

Mr. Khalifa noted that last night's dinner was the second Ramadan meal Mr. Bush has hosted. The first was held shortly after the war in Afghanistan began last year.

"We need this," the ambassador said. "After September 11, there was a tremendous misconception about Islam. We want to portray a positive image."

Mr. Khalifa said Mr. Bush continues to reassure the Muslim world that the war against terrorism is aimed at militants who attack civilians.

"He keeps saying this is not a war against Islam. It is a war against terrorism. We are taking that message back to our people. We are partners in this war."

Mr. Khalifa was directly affected by last year's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. On September 11, he was flying from London to New York and on to Washington to begin his tour as ambassador.

His plane was diverted to Newfoundland, Canada, where the passengers spent the first night sleeping on board. They spent the second night in a hotel and then were sent back to London.

Mr. Khalifa finally arrived in Washington a week later.

Celebrating China

A caravan of antique Cadillacs carried visiting Chinese athletes and Olympics officials to a concert last night to celebrate China's successful bid for the 2008 Olympics.

Lan Li Jun, the charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy, hosted the event with ambassadors and diplomats from more than 30 nations.

Zhan Jian of the Beijing Olympics organizing committee headed the Chinese delegation that included Luna Tao, a gold medalist in shooting, and Yue Ling Chen, a gold medalist in speed walking.

"This is a very important event for the Chinese people," said Xiaohua Que, a cultural-affairs diplomat at the embassy.

The celebration at the Warner Theater featured a performance of the Washington Symphony Orchestra.

The guests included ambassadors or their representatives from Afghanistan, Benin, Bosnia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Eritrea, Fiji, Gabon, Greece, Grenada, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Ireland, Israel, Lebanon, Lesotho, Mauritius, Moldova, Mozambique, Nepal, Poland, Portugal, St. Nevis and Kitts, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Ukraine and Vietnam.

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