- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2003

Hungary's commitment
Hungarian Ambassador Andras Simonyi says his country will stand by its commitment to help the United States disarm Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein with or without the endorsement of the United Nations.
Mr. Simonyi, speaking this week on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, said Hungary prefers to work through the United Nations and resolve the crisis through diplomacy.
"If it is not possible by peaceful means, we are going to have to resort to force, and that's what we have said in the last couple of months," he said. "We stick to that, and, as we move on, I think the international community is increasingly realizing that this might have to be the case."
Mr. Simonyi's government is one of many in Eastern Europe that are supporting the United States and rejecting the position of France and Germany.
He said the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary to crush an anti-communist revolt remains the fundamental event that shaped the lives of many Hungarians. The ambassador said Hungarians and other citizens of former Soviet bloc countries understand the plight of Iraqis under Saddam's brutal dictatorship.
"Hungarians perhaps have a better understanding for why democracies might have to go to war," he said. "Look, in 1956, the international community, democracies failed to act … [and] because of the inaction of democracies, Hungary got occupied by a foreign power …. Therefore, probably Hungarians have a pretty good understanding of what happens when democracies fail to move."
Mr. Simonyi said Hungary is providing training facilities to Iraqi opposition members to train them to serve as interpreters and guides.
He holds hope for a post-Saddam Iraq.
"The Iraqi people … are well-educated. They are a lay [secular] nation, which has an enormous source of wealth, and they have all the ingredients to become a strong and democratic nation, if they are rid of their dictatorial regime," he said.
Mr. Simonyi said he was surprised when French President Jacques Chirac warned East European nations against opposing the French and German position on Iraq if they want to join the European Union.
However, he added, he wanted to "be diplomatic" and not comment on Mr. Chirac's statement.

Diplomatic snow job
The blizzard that brought the federal government to a halt also wrecked diplomatic plans this week.
Prime Minister Luis Solari of Peru and Foreign Minister Roberto Tovar of Costa Rica postponed visits to Washington. Mr. Tovar is now due here next week.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies canceled a forum with former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, who were due to discuss U.S.-European relations.
However, 2 feet of snow did not stop Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, whose Baltic nation has frequent heavy snowfalls. She arrived in Washington on schedule for appointments with President Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and to address the White House forum at the American Museum of History.

Trafficking in India
The United States and India share a common problem with the smuggling of human beings for prostitution, sweatshop labor and other illegal activities, the U.S. ambassador to India said this week.
"Trafficking in persons affects our two nations directly," Ambassador Robert Blackwill said in a speech in Bombay, a major magnet for trafficking. "We are both countries of destination, of transit and/or of origin for these misfortunates."
He called for a joint effort to combat human trafficking.
"Trafficking in women and children, like other transnational crimes and like HIV/AIDS … is a global problem demanding solutions based on international partnership and in U.S.-India bilateral assistance," he said.
Mr. Blackwill said most of the trafficking into the United States comes through Mexico.
"An estimated 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States each year, with Mexico as the principal source because of the long border the two countries share. And the number is increasing," he said.
"Women have been trafficked to the U.S. primarily for the sex industry … sweatshop labor, domestic servitude and agricultural work."

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