- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2003

Anger in Prague
A private dispute between the president of the Czech Republic and the U.S. ambassador in Prague spilled into the public this week as they clashed over the war in Iraq.
Ambassador Craig Stapleton took "exception" to remarks by President Vaclav Klaus, who accused the United States of trying to force democracy on the Iraqi people.
"The idea that one can impose democracy through the use of military force seems to me to belong to another age," Mr. Klaus wrote in a recent article in the Mlada Fronta Dnes newspaper.
Mr. Stapleton, in an interview in the Prague Post yesterday, responded, "I certainly don't endorse his view on the situation in Iraq, and I took exception to the article he wrote."
The ambassador deflected a question about a meeting with Mr. Klaus in late March, after the president expressed his opposition to the war. The Lidove Noviny newspaper reported that Mr. Stapleton stormed out of the meeting, slamming the door behind him.
"The meeting ended because we were done discussing the topic that was on our agenda," he told the Prague Post.
Mr. Stapleton, however, added, "[Mr.] Klaus is admired for his intellect and for his generally pro-American point of view. We need to convince him to be with us all the time, not just some of the time."
The ambassador also criticized the ruling Social Democratic Party for adopting a resolution that declared the war in Iraq illegal.
"We found the resolution obviously quite offensive," he said. "Any time anyone questions American motives, we get offended."

Trouble with Tigers
The U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka yesterday faulted Tamil Tiger rebels for pulling out of peace talks with the government.
Ambassador Ashley Wills also discounted the reasons cited by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for withdrawing from the negotiations that came after a cease-fire in February.
The Tigers said the government failed to promote the economy in the Tamil region and violated the truce.
"Blame for this does not fall exclusively on the side of the government, however, as the LTTE's statement suggested. The Tigers, too, bear heavy responsibility for numerous breaches of the cease-fire," Mr. Wills said in a statement released by the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Colombo.
"While the talks are suspended, we urge the LTTE to reflect carefully on its own transgressions. Assassinations of opponents, intimidation of Muslims, taxation without representation, aggressive … behavior [by the rebel navy Sea Tigers] and continued child recruitment do not build trust in the LTTE's intentions."

Michael Thawley and John Wood, the Australian and New Zealand ambassadors respectively, will mark ANZAC Day today with a dawn ceremony to commemorate the armistice that ended the Korean War.
They will host a 5:45 a.m. ceremony at the Korean Veterans War Memorial and attend a 10:30 a.m. church service at the National Cathedral.
Troops from Australia and New Zealand fought with the United States and other allies to repel North Korea's invasion of South Korea. The armistice was signed July 27, 1953.
The two countries were on opposite sides in the Iraq war, with Australia sending troops to help the U.S.-led coalition and New Zealand sharply criticizing the invasion.
But on ANZAC Day, the two neighbors celebrate their long alliance, marked by the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on the shores of the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey on April 25, 1915. The campaign lasted more than 250 days and ended in disaster for the ANZAC troops and their British allies. Of more than 500,000 troops who fought in the campaign, 300,000 were killed. But legends of heroism were born.
"ANZAC Day is probably Australia's most important and revered national occasion," the Australian Embassy said, adding that the Gallipoli campaign was "a battle in which the Australian legend was born a legend built on triumphs against the odds, of courage and ingenuity in adversity."
"It is a legend of free and independent spirits, whose discipline derived from the bonds of mateship," the embassy said.
However, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, in her ANZAC Day message, said, "It was an ugly and ultimately futile campaign."



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