- The Washington Times - Friday, September 20, 2002

Campaigning for NATO
Slovenian Defense Minister Anton Grizold yesterday visited Capitol Hill, the State Department and the Pentagon to press his country's case for NATO membership.
Romania's defense minister, Mircea Pascu, meanwhile, got some good news from a key senator once opposed to a further expansion of the Western alliance.
The defense ministers represent two of the seven countries expected to be admitted to NATO at a summit meeting in November in the Czech capital, Prague.
Mr. Grizold, meeting reporters at a breakfast, said, "I think we have proved ourselves to be a credible ally."
He said his Washington visit is "one of Slovenia's last opportunities before the Prague summit to present some positive trends in the development of our defense system."
Mr. Grizold has turned the bloated armed forces inherited after the breakup of Yugoslavia into a lean and efficient fighting machine for the 21st century. He has trimmed the officer corps, developed one well-trained battalion and is working to develop two more.
"I don't believe in quantity. I believe in quality," he said. "Slovenia should be judged according to the state of affairs today, by what we have achieved and by what we are doing."
Mr. Pascu told Embassy Row he received an encouraging signal when he met Virginia Sen. John W. Warner, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee who has reversed his opposition to further NATO expansion.
"He used this opportunity to express a different position, which was appreciated in Romania. He said he would not be an obstacle and that Romania is bringing a substantial contribution to NATO."
Mr. Pascu said he also had positive meetings with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
"From the military point of view, we heard only praise," he said.

Cuba cries foul
Cuba is outraged by U.S. charges this week that Fidel Castro's government is waging a disinformation campaign to weaken the war on terrorism.
Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque accused Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Daniel W. Fisk of "lying with impudence" in a speech Mr. Fisk made Tuesday in Washington at the National Summit on Cuba.
"All of his accusations against Cuba are false and slanderous," Mr. Perez Roque said in remarks released here by the Cuban Interests Section. "It is a colossal lie, just like when they fabricated that Cuba was a terrorist state and that we were producing biological weapons."
John Bolton, assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research, recently said the United States believes Cuba has a limited biological weapons program.
Mr. Perez Roque accused Mr. Fisk of "being a liar always ready to serve the minority interest of a group of Cuban [exile] extremists in Miami."
He strongly dismissed Mr. Fisk's charges that Mr. Castro has been using agents to spread false reports of terrorist threats against U.S. targets, forcing the United States to waste time investigating those reports.

Kashmir infiltration
The U.S. ambassador to India yesterday demanded that Pakistan stop Islamic terrorists from slipping into Indian-controlled Kashmir to disrupt provincial elections.
"Infiltration is certainly going on, absolutely," Ambassador Robert Blackwill said in Indian television interviews.
He said the militants, who have threatened to kill anyone campaigning or voting, have increased their incursions over the past two months. More than 460 persons have been killed since India announced the beginning of the election campaign in August. The first round of voting was held on Monday, and a second round begins next week.
Mr. Blackwill said Washington holds Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf responsible.
"President Musharraf gave a commitment to the international community to end cross-border infiltration permanently, and we expect him to meet that commitment," Mr. Blackwill said. "It is absolutely unacceptable that terrorism in any form is used as a political instrument to try to affect the political decisions of ordinary people."
In Pakistan, Gen. Musharraf said that his government "is neither allowing, nor sponsoring, nor encouraging any kind of movement."


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