- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Sri Lankan returns
The new ambassador of Sri Lanka thanked the United States for support in his country's peace talks with separatists, as he presented his diplomatic credentials to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
Ambassador Devinda R. Subasinghe said Sri Lanka is grateful that the United States is backing his government's efforts to end nearly 20 years of civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
The government and the rebels have been observing a truce since February last year and have held four rounds of talks in the interim. They have agreed to allow the Tigers to establish regional autonomy in the Tamil area, while the rebels agreed to drop their demand for a separate homeland.
Mr. Powell, at a State Department ceremony last week, noted that Mr. Subasinghe is no stranger to Washington. The 49-year-old diplomat earned a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in 1980 and worked at the World Bank headquarters here from 1983 to 1995. Mr. Subasinghe was most recently vice president of Raymond James Financial Services Inc. in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The ambassador is awaiting an appointment with President Bush for the formal presentation of his diplomatic credentials and is planning for his country's 55th independence anniversary Feb. 4.

Blacklist complaints
Bangladesh and Pakistan are continuing efforts to protest their inclusion on a U.S. terrorist-nation blacklist, while urging their citizens to comply with new regulations that apply to 25 mostly Muslim countries.
Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Morshed Khan, due to visit Washington next week, complained about the regulations in a letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell during the weekend.
The so-called special registration program of the Immigration and Naturalization Service requires male citizens of the listed countries to be fingerprinted, photographed and questioned by U.S. officials if they are in the United States on non-immigrant visas. Most of the countries are not included on the State Department's separate list of nations linked to terrorism.
Bangladesh "would take all necessary efforts so that its name is dropped from the list," Mr. Khan said, according to reports from Dhaka, the country's capital.
U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Mary Ann Peters tried to reassure Mr. Khan that the United States values Dhaka's support in the war against terrorism.
"I hope and believe that the relations between Bangladesh and the United States are deep-rooted and will be further strengthened in the coming days," she told the Agence France-Presse after meeting with the foreign minister Sunday.
In Washington last week, Bangladeshi Ambassador Syed Hasan Ahmad formally protested his country's inclusion on the list. He also is hoping to form a common front with Indonesian Ambassador Soemadi Djoko Moerdjono Brotodiningrat, whose country was added to the list last week.
Pakistani Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi held another meeting with Pakistani citizens in the Washington area during the weekend to brief them on his efforts to deal with the regulations.
He called Pakistan's inclusion on the list "unfair and discriminatory," the country's embassy said in a report on the meeting.
Mr. Qazi also said the "overwhelming majority of the people of Pakistan support the stance of the government of Pakistan in being a front-line coalition ally of the U.S. since this is in Pakistan's national interest."

'Sabotaging' Kashmir
The U.S. ambassador to India is "sabotaging the Kashmir cause" with comments about Muslim terrorist infiltration, the premier of the Pakistan-controlled part of the divided region said yesterday.
Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan criticized Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill for a speech Saturday to Indian Americans in San Jose, Calif.
Mr. Khan said the "freedom-seeking people of the region would not give up their legitimate struggle."
Mr. Blackwill, who is on a U.S. visit, said the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir continues to endure "terrible acts of terrorist violence" from militants on the Pakistan side of the so-called Line of Control that divides the Himalayan region.
He said the United States will continue to press Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to stop the "terrorist infiltration."


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