- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Saudis deny ABC report
Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar Bin Sultan is denying an ABC News report that the Saudi crown prince sent President Bush a secret proposal about governing a post-war Iraq, using one of his sons as a personal envoy.
Prince Bandar, in a statement released Sunday, called the report "untrue."
ABC said Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud sent his son Prince Abdul to deliver the proposal that called for Saudi Arabia to lead an Islamic coalition to rule Iraq until a transitional government is established there. It also called for Turkey to play a leading role in the occupational force.
Prince Bandar, however, said Prince Abdul "has not been in the United States for some time and has not carried any message to the president or other U.S. government officials."
The report, posted on the ABCNEWS.com Web site, also said the Saudis planned, after the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, to crush Islamic extremists in Saudi Arabia who are allied to Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network.

The real Powell doctrine
When he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin L. Powell advocated the use of overwhelming force if the United States went to war. As secretary of state, he has earned a reputation as a dove for appearing to favor diplomacy in dealing with Iraq.
Lately, however, Mr. Powell has been talking about the need to disarm Saddam Hussein by force and challenging the United Nations to show its strength by supporting President Bush.
Some reporters are now wondering whether he is a hawk or a dove, but Mr. Powell says he is neither. When a Chinese reporter asked yesterday why Mr. Powell was sounding as hawkish as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Mr. Powell rejected "one-word labels."
"It's very unwise to stereotype people with one-word labels. I have always advocated peaceful solutions to international crises. I've been a soldier. I've fought in wars. I've lost friends in wars. I've sent men and women to die in battle," the former general said.
"So, I hate war. Avoid war. But if you have to fight it, do it well. Get it over with, and get back to building the peace."

India's costly diplomacy
Members of India's Parliament are questioning the expenses of the country's ambassador-at-large in the United States, as part of a broader complaint about India's diplomatic spending.
The Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs was "indignant" to learn that Ambassador Bhishma K. Agnihotri is spending $11,000 a month to rent office space in New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, according to a report in the Indian Express newspaper.
The report said Mr. Agnihotri's total monthly expenses are about $30,000.
Committee members across party lines plan to take their complaint to Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha, the newspaper said.
Rajiv Shukla, chairman of the Indo-U.S. Parliamentary Forum, demanded "austerity measures" throughout India's diplomatic corps, the Hindustan Times reported.
In a letter to Mr. Sinha, Mr. Shukla said some diplomats are submitting "fake bills" charged to entertainment accounts and demanded that the false expenses be reimbursed.
India, meanwhile, is in the process of hiring a new Washington lobbying group to replace the firm of Verner Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand, which its government has used for years.
India's Economic Times reported that the government is planning to retain Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld, which, it said, is "known for its unusually close ties to the White House." The firm also is well-connected in Democratic and Republican circles.
In New Delhi yesterday, the U.S. Embassy cited news reports of possible terrorist attacks in a warning to Americans to avoid Indian government installations in the capital.
"We advise American citizens to avoid these locations over the next few days," the embassy said in a statement. "Terrorist groups, some of them linked to al Qaeda and implicated in attacks on Americans, are active in India and have attacked and killed civilians."
The embassy said Americans also should be cautious while visiting tourist sites and attending public events.


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