- The Washington Times - Monday, April 28, 2003

Shopping, building trust
The sight of throngs of ethnic Greeks and Turks crossing into each other's territory on Cyprus marks a small step toward building confidence between two peoples with a history of distrust and violence, said the Turkish-Cypriot representative in Washington.
"There is a lack of confidence. The history of Cyprus is one of missed opportunities," Osman Ertug of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) told editors and reporters over lunch at The Washington Times.
Last week, crowds continued to take advantage of the opening of the long-closed border between the TRNC, which is recognized only by Turkey, and the territory ruled by the Greek-Cypriot authority, the internationally recognized government of Cyprus.
Mr. Ertug said Greek-Cypriots were buying shish kebab and Turkish-Cypriot pastry called kadayif and that Turkish-Cypriots were admiring the development of the Greek side.
"We have the best pastry," he said. "But the Greek-Cypriot wine, that is where they have the advantage."
News reports said some Greek-Cypriots also were looking at property lost after the division of the island after the unsuccessful Greek-led military coup in 1974 and Turkish military intervention to protect Turkish-Cypriots.
Mr. Ertug said his government opened the border after the failure of U.N.-sponsored talks and the European Union's decision to admit the Greek-Cypriot side of the island. Many observers believe that Turkey and the TRNC blundered by rejecting the reunification plan, but Mr. Ertug said the TRNC called for more negotiations.
"The opening of the border was our decision," he said. "We tried a comprehensive approach. Now we must try an incremental approach."
Diplomatic traffic
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
Honduran President Ricardo Maduro Joest, who addresses the Council of the Americas' annual convention and meets with the National Security Council. Tomorrow, he meets President Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
Hilde F. Johnson, Norway's minister for international development, who receives an award from Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for Global Development.
Franz von Daniken, Switzerland's secretary of state, who addresses the European Institute.
George Yeo, Singapore's minister of trade and industry, who meets members of Congress and addresses the Congressional Economic Leadership Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. On Wednesday, he holds a 2:30 p.m. news conference at the National Press Club.
Hong Kong's commissioner for customs and excise, Raymond Wong, and deputy director general of trade and industry, Clement Leung. They participate in a forum sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Chilean Foreign Minister Soledad Alvear, who addresses the Council of the Americas. Tomorrow, he speaks before the Chilean-American Chamber of Commerce.
Tobias Nobreg Suarez, Venezuela's finance minister; Henrique Meirelles, president of the Central Bank of Brazil; and Alfonso Prat Gay, president of the Central Bank of Argentina. They address the Council of the Americas.
Garegyn Tosunyan, president of the Association of Russian Banks, who joins a forum on U.S.-Russian relations sponsored by the Free Congress organization.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher, who addresses the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Canadian Sen. Pierre Claude Nolin and Marco Cappato, an Italian member of the European Parliament. They hold a noon news conference at the National Press Club to advocate the legalization of marijuana and other drugs.
Alexei Gordeyev, Russia's deputy prime minister and agriculture minister. He meets Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman, Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans and House and Senate members. On Friday, he meets White House and State Department officials and holds a 3 p.m. signing ceremony at the Russian Embassy on a U.S.-Russian agricultural agreement.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe meets President Bush.
Benny Elon, Israel's minister of tourism, holds private and public meetings to discuss Middle East peace.

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