- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 26, 2002

Uribe criticizes Chavez

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe complained to key members of the Senate this week that leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is providing no help in Colombia's war against drug traffickers and guerrillas who have taken refuge in Venezuela, according to a Senate source.

Mr. Uribe on Tuesday told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Mr. Chavez "hasn't lifted a finger" to help Colombia stop drug flights from Colombia through Venezuelan air space, said the source, who was in the meeting.

He also said Mr. Chavez has done nothing to help Colombia in its war against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the National Liberation Army, the source said.

"Uribe said Chavez talks a good game but hasn't lifted a finger to crack down on guerrillas that have found a safe haven in Venezuela or to interdict drug flights," the source said.

Mr. Uribe asked the United States to exert pressure on Mr. Chavez to cooperate with Colombia. He met with committee members Lincoln D. Chafee, Rhode Island Republican, Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican, and Paul Wellstone, Minnesota Democrat.

The source said Mr. Uribe's predecessor, Andres Pastrana, delivered a similar message to the committee during a Washington visit earlier this year.

Arafat's holy war

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon this week complained that Yasser Arafat has turned a secular national conflict into a religious one that is spawning suicide bombers who target Israeli youths.

Mr. Ayalon, addressing American Christian leaders at the Israeli Embassy, said his country wants peace but has to arrest or kill terrorists before they can attack Israeli civilians.

The ambassador said the Palestinian leader "very willfully and very systematically [introduced into the conflict] a very, very dangerous religious element, which was not there before."

"He is trying to take it from the context of a national struggle between two national movements into a religious one," Mr. Ayalon said. "He does so by calling in [assassins] and martyrs to march on Jerusalem. This is why we now have this phenomenon of suicide bombers. This is a religious phenomenon."

Mr. Ayalon justified Israel's use of pre-emptive strikes against suspected terrorists.

"You have to go after the terrorists in their houses and not wait until they come with a bomb to the markets and to the kindergartens," he said.

"They specifically chose either discos, where the youth are, or schools and buses just to terrorize."

His guests included Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of American, and Paul Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation.

European anti-Semitism

A congressional human rights panel is worried about a "disturbing increase" in attacks against European Jews and their religious and cultural sites.

"We have seen a disturbing increase of attacks against Jews, synagogues and other Jewish cultural sites, most alarmingly in Western Europe," said Rep. Christopher H. Smith, co-chairman of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The New Jersey Republican, who led a recent delegation to Europe to investigate the attacks, wrote President Bush to inform him of its findings.

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice responded on behalf of Mr. Bush, saying he "condemns all forms of anti-Semitism, whether in the form of physical attacks or hateful rhetoric, and is troubled by evidence that it may be on the rise."

She said Mr. Bush will raise the issue in meetings with foreign leaders.

Bandler joins Monsanto

Donald Bandler, the former U.S. ambassador to Cyprus, has been hired as a senior vice president for government affairs at the Monsanto Co., the world's leading provider of genetically modified food.

Mr. Bandler, a career Foreign Service officer, worked closely with Greek, Turkish, U.N. and European Union officials while he was ambassador to Cyprus.

He has also served as senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council and as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in France.

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