- The Washington Times - Monday, October 14, 2002

Kashmir vote 'credible'
The United States is praising the bravery of voters in Kashmir who defied threats from Islamic militants to vote in large numbers this month.
"They had extreme courage to cast their ballot," U.S. Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill said at a luncheon meeting of business leaders last week, according to reports from India.
"It was a successful election," he added in the address at the southern city of Bangalore. "The election commission did a very fine job. It was a credible election carried out by democratic means."
More than 800 people have been killed in India-controlled Kashmir since the election for a provincial assembly was announced in August. The four-stage election ended last week, with voters rejecting the pro-India National Conference in favor of candidates supporting more autonomy for the Muslim-majority region.
Mr. Blackwill also called the guerrillas "terrorists."
"Terrorists call themselves many different things at different places," he said. "Sometimes they are called freedom fighters. Any person who kills civilians is a terrorist."

Lithuania on track
The U.S. ambassador to NATO is impressed by Lithuania's preparations to join the alliance.
Ambassador Nicholas Burns met Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas and parliamentary Speaker Arturas Paulauskas on a visit to the capital, Vilnius, last week.
"I told the prime minister, as well as the [speaker] of parliament, that we believe that Lithuania is a serious candidate for admission to NATO at the Prague summit," he told reporters.
Lithuania is one of seven countries expected to be admitted at the NATO summit next month. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia are the others.
Mr. Burns added, "We are very impress by the seriousness by which Lithuania is approaching membership in NATO."
He also expressed appreciation for Lithuania's decision to send 40 troops to Afghanistan.

More Bulgarian security
City authorities in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia have agreed to a U.S. request for more security around the American ambassador's residence to guard against terrorist attacks.
Ambassador James Pardew told Bulgaria's BTA news agency that the United States would pay for installing barriers and surveillance cameras and banning traffic from a street in front of the residence.
He said the measures would last for about two years until a more secure residence is built.

Diplomatic traffic
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include the following:
Tomorrow
British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, who meets Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
Ludmilla Alexeyeva, chairman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, and Micah Naftalin, executive director of the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union. They address the Congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe from 10 a.m. to noon in Room 2200 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Wednesday
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who meets President Bush at the White House.
Ravshan Alimov, director of Uzbekistan's Institute of Interregional and Strategic Studies, and Emin Sazak, vice chairman of the Yuksel Construction Co. in Ankara, Turkey, who discuss free trade in Central Asia at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
Thursday
Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, who addresses the Council on Foreign Relations.
Mario Baldassarri, Italy's vice minister of economy and finance, who addresses the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
Friday
Cho Chang-beom, deputy foreign minister of South Korea, who participates in a forum on democracy at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Reinhard Priebe, European Commission director for the Western Balkans, who joins a panel discussion about Macedonia at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Shin Sung-oh, chancellor of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security of South Korea's Ministry of Defense. He heads a delegation for a discussion on U.S.-Korean security issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


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