- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2003

Bangladesh complains
Bangladesh yesterday became the latest Muslim country to object to a new U.S. rule that requires Bangladeshi visitors to be fingerprinted and photographed before entering the United States.
Foreign Secretary Shamser Mobin Chowdhury told reporters that Bangladesh was unfairly added to a growing list of mostly Muslim nations whose citizens face the special registration requirement designed to track terrorists and illegal immigrants.
"Our credentials as a moderate, tolerant and practicing democracy have been very clearly established," he said, according to Agence France-Presse.
"It is unfortunate that Bangladesh is on the list, and we hope it is a temporary measure, and its impact will be limited in scope and form."
The U.S. ambassador in Bangladesh tried to reassure the government that Washington still values its relationship with the South Asian nation.
"The inclusion of Bangladesh in this program does not in any way signal a change in the U.S. view that Bangladesh has been and continues to be a staunch member of the international coalition against terrorism," Ambassador Mary Ann Peters said in a statement.
"The domestic registration requirements for certain temporary visitors from Bangladesh arriving and residing in the U.S. are the latest phase of this long-term initiative."
The addition this week of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan and Kuwait brings the number of countries on the watch list to 25. Males age 16 and older from those countries are required to register.
Pakistani Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi has met with Pakistani citizens in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington to criticize the new rules. However, he has urged Pakistani citizens to comply.
Hitler and Saddam
The United States will not make the same mistake dealing with Saddam Hussein that Europe made when it failed to stop Adolf Hitler before the Nazi war machine conquered most of the continent, a U.S. diplomat said yesterday.
Rockwell Schnabel, the ambassador to the European Union, told reporters in Brussels, "You had Hitler in Europe and nobody really did anything about it. We recognized that he could be dangerous, but nothing was done."
Referring to the Iraqi dictator, Mr. Schnabel added, "You talk about a similar type of person here, and that is the concern."
He repeated the White House position that Saddam has the ability to prevent war by dismantling his weapons of mass destruction.
"There is nothing decided about a war against Iraq," he said. "Yes, we are putting troops together, and yes, he is a very serious matter. And hopefully, Mr. Saddam Hussein will get the message that we are serious about this business and that the U.N. Security Council will be very serious about it.
"Nobody wants a war. Period. It is really up to Mr. Saddam Hussein by his actions, by either turning over or eliminating his potentially dangerous weapons or by simply getting out of the way."
Israeli in space
Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon hailed the first Israeli astronaut to fly into space as a "living testament" of Israeli determination and an example of the continuing "strong friendship" with the United States.
Ilan Ramon and six Americans took off yesterday in the space shuttle Columbia on a 16-day mission.
"This is such an exciting time for us, for Americans and especially for Israelis," Mr. Ayalon told guests at a Wednesday night reception in Cocoa Beach, Fla., near the Cape Canaveral launch site.
"Ilan is the first Israeli astronaut to be sent into space, and he makes us so proud," the ambassador said. "Not only does this exemplify the great cooperation between the U.S. and Israel in technology, science and trade, it actively demonstrates the strong friendship and respect we two countries have for each other."
He said the two countries "share the vibrant ideals of freedom for all, respect for mankind."
"We are a brave and valiant peoples in our fight for democracy," Mr. Ayalon added. "Ilan makes us proud because he is a living testament of the resilience, tenacity and determination of the Israeli people and of our endeavors to overcome tragedy, as his parents did, surviving the Holocaust and helping to build our nation."


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