- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2003

Poland seeks unity
The Polish ambassador, whose country will join the fight against Saddam Hussein, fears that the European division over Iraq could permanently damage relations between the United States and Europe.
"We do not want to see a divided Europe," Ambassador Przemyslaw Grudzinski wrote in the current Polish Embassy newsletter. "In fact all our actions are aimed at avoiding further divisions."
Poland is among more than a dozen European nations supporting the United States, putting them at odds with French and German efforts to block President Bush from leading a coalition to remove Saddam. French President Jacques Chirac said they should have "shut up" and warned many of them they risked losing their invitations to join the European Union.
Mr. Grudzinski said Poland realizes the threat posed by Iraq. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski on Tuesday announced he will send 200 troops to join coalition forces.
"Iraq's disarmament is the key element of improving international security," he wrote. "The solution to the Iraqi problem should lead to a more stable, safe and predictable international situation."
He also worried about a potential permanent division in trans-Atlantic relations.
"Poland does not see any contradiction between America reducing chaos in the intentional realm and a strong and healthy European Union," he wrote. "Clearly there is a need to refine the trans-Atlantic bargain. Both sides have a lot to offer, even if their threat assessments differ.
"If the trans-Atlantic community breaks up, new competing coalitions will eventually emerge. … It should be obvious for all in the Northern Hemisphere that such a scenario would equate to the trans-Atlantic community's inability to draw a lesson from 20th century European history. It would not be easy for future generations to forgive."
Croatia drops out
The United States yesterday criticized Croatia for opposing military action against Iraq, after Croatia had expressed support for the U.S. position only a month earlier.
U.S. Ambassador to Croatia Lawrence Rossin said Croatia's position could affect future relations with Washington. Croatia, in response, said it was worried about its future within the European Union, where France and Germany hold a powerful voice in opposition to U.S. action in Iraq.
"We are talking about an issue of war and peace, and your government has, unfortunately, decided to avoid its responsibility," he told Croatia's Globus newspaper.
"The Croatian government has had an opportunity to boost cooperation and partnership with the big coalition of states led by the U.S.," he added, referring to a group of more than a dozen European nations and others that are supporting the United States.
He said "there will be some" consequences, adding, "That is inevitable."
The Foreign Ministry said it hopes U.S.-Croatian relations will continue in a spirit of "partnership and cooperation," the Agence France-Presse news agency reported. It added that Croatia is also worried about the effect on its application to join the EU.
"Like many other countries, Croatia does not want to make taking a stance on the Iraqi crisis an issue of choosing sides between the U.S. and the EU," it said.
Last month, Croatia joined nine other Central and Eastern European countries in signing a letter of support for the U.S. position on Iraq.
Indonesia's warning
A leading Indonesian politician yesterday warned his country will recall its ambassador from Washington if the United States attacks Iraq.
However, the Indonesian Embassy said Ambassador Soemadi Djoko Moerdjono Brotodiningrat has no plans to pack his bags.
"There is nothing at this moment," embassy spokesman Suhardjono Sastromihardjo told Embassy Row.
He said the embassy learned about the comment from Ibrahim Ambong, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives, through a news service report.
Indonesia, a country of 220 million people, has the world's largest Muslim population..com.

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