- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 21, 2003

Avoid travel to Yemen

Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist network is trying to regroup in Yemen, the State Department said this week, as it warned Americans against traveling to his ancestral homeland.

The department urged Americans to avoid all “nonessential travel to Yemen.”

“The security threat to all U.S. citizens in Yemen remains high due to continuing efforts by al Qaeda to reconstitute an effective operating base,” the department said. “This could lead to possible attacks by extremist individuals or groups against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses and perceived interests.”

The U.S. liberation of Afghanistan destroyed the al Qaeda base, which was protected by the deposed Taliban regime.

The State Department warned Americans who have to travel to Yemen to register at the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in the capital, San’a, and enroll in the emergency-alert network of U.S. citizens there.

It urged Americans already in Yemen to “exercise particular caution” in public places such as restaurants and shops.

Vast areas of Yemen are considered lawless and under the control of tribal leaders who admire bin Laden, who traces his Yemeni roots through his father. Bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia.

Al Qaeda terrorists were responsible for the 2000 suicide attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors.

Afghans honor Thorpe

Brett Thorpe paid “the ultimate price” when he died of a heart attack, while serving on the security detail that protects Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a State Department official said this week.

Francis X. Taylor, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, presented his widow, Jeannie, and sons with an award Afghanistan bestowed posthumously on Mr. Thorpe. He is the first American to receive the Baryal Medal, Afghanistan’s highest civilian award.

He “gave the ultimate price, that is to place one’s self in harm’s way to uphold the ideals of one’s country,” Mr. Taylor said in a solemn ceremony at the State Department.

Haron Amin, the charge d’affaires at the Afghan Embassy, represented Mr. Karzai at the ceremony.

Mr. Thorpe, who died May 29, was employed by DynCorp, the company under contract with the State Department to provide security for Mr. Karzai. Mr. Thorpe, a retired sergeant first class in the Army’s Special Forces, was buried with full military honors in June in Utah.

Wheat for Georgia

The United States this week agreed to provide the Republic of Georgia with 50,000 metric tons of wheat to help the former Soviet republic feed its citizens.

Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman said the aid will also help Georgia make a transition to a market economy, as she signed the deal this week with Georgian Minister of Agriculture and Food David Kirvalidze.

“This donation of U.S. wheat helps meet the needs of Georgia’s people at a time of reduced regional supplies, while also supporting that government’s commitment to more market-oriented agricultural and economic development,” she said.

The Agriculture Department said the wheat will be used by flour mills, bakeries and other firms to increase the supply of bread and other baked goods.

“Proceeds from the wheat sales will be used by the government of Georgia for projects in areas such as private agribusiness and market development, credit programs, water use, animal husbandry, rural extension and the development and enforcement of food safety policies,” the department said in a statement.

OAS names Haiti envoy

A retired U.S. ambassador assumed the hazardous chore of trying to reform democracy in Haiti, a country consumed by political violence and fraudulent elections.

The Organization of American States this week named Terence Todman as its special envoy to Haiti with instructions to work “assiduously” to create an incorruptible Provisional Electoral Council to oversee Haitian elections.

Mr. Todman, a former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, served as ambassador to Argentina, Chad, Costa Rica, Denmark and Guinea.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected].



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