- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 21, 2003

Croatia taps Zuzul

Miomir Zuzul, Croatia’s former ambassador to the United States and a strongly pro-American voice in Europe, was promoted to foreign minister in a new Cabinet announced yesterday.

Mr. Zuzul, 48, served from 1996 to 2000 in Washington, where he strongly advocated that his country be admitted to NATO and encouraged the United States to take a leading role in ending disputes in the Balkans.

Prime Minister Ivo Sanader named Mr. Zuzul to the post in a slimmed-down Cabinet that includes 14 ministers, five fewer than in the last government.

Mr. Zuzul, in speeches and foreign-policy journals, urged the Clinton administration to stop the ethnic violence in Kosovo and called the United States the world’s “indispensable nation.”

In 1998, he told the Southern Center for International Studies in Atlanta that Europe could not stop the Serbian atrocities against Kosovo Muslims unless the United States intervened.

“It is clear that Europe could not act in a united and cohesive manner without the direct engagement and leadership of the United States,” he said.

That same year, Mr. Zuzul said the United States saved NATO from irrelevancy when Washington led the alliance in Bosnia-Herzegovina, ending the civil war and brokering the 1995 Dayton Accords that created a power-sharing government.

“It is not an overstatement to say that NATO depended on Bosnia … as much as [Bosnia] depended on NATO for its survival,” he wrote in Strategic Review, the journal of the United States Strategic Institute.

“It was only after NATO, under U.S. leadership, was fully engaged in Bosnia … blending the instruments of power — diplomacy and coercion — that there was any prospect of peace.”

He said NATO’s support for the Dayton Accords was a “test case for its commitment and capacity to build stability in Central and Eastern Europe.”

Anger in Berlin

Daniel Coats, U.S. ambassador to Germany, is angered over a decision by Germany’s highest criminal court to uphold the release of a suspect accused of plotting the September 11 attacks.

Mr. Coats called the ruling “incomprehensible” in an interview over the weekend with the Maerkische Oderzeitung newspaper.

The Federal Criminal Court on Friday rejected an appeal from German prosecutors to overturn a lower court’s decision that freed Abdelghani Mzoudi on Dec. 11.

The lower court ruled that the Moroccan national was no longer a key suspect in the case against a suspected al Qaeda terrorist cell in Hamburg, which was accused of plotting the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Slovakian outreach

Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan opened a consulate over the weekend to serve 100,000 Slovak citizens across the northern half of the United States.

The New York-based consulate will serve Slovaks in 25 states from Alaska to Maine. The consulate at the Slovak Embassy in Washington serves Southern and Southwestern states from the Mid-Atlantic to California.

“There is a large and vibrant expatriate Slovak community in the state of New York, which has a long history of settlements by immigrants from Slovakia,” the embassy said, citing 1990 census figures that identified 1.8 million New Yorkers with Slovak ancestry.

“By opening a new consulate, Slovak authorities want to encourage these expatriates to hold on to their linguistic and cultural identity.”

Mr. Kukan also met with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and signed treaties on the International Criminal Court, tobacco control and the environment.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.


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