- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 26, 2003

U.S. upset with Canada
The United States yesterday criticized Canada for failing to support the war in Iraq and said Washington would not hesitate to back Canada if it faced a security threat.
"There is no security threat in Canada that the United States would not be ready, willing and able to help. There would be no debate. There would be no hesitation. We would be there for Canada, part of our family," Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, said at a business luncheon in Toronto.
"That is why so many in the United States are disappointed and upset that Canada is not fully supporting us now."
He said Canada's position has caused a "bump in relations" between two of the world's closest allies who share more than $1.3 billion a day in trade.
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has been an opponent of the U.S.-led military campaign to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and has objected to any action not approved by the U.N. Security Council.
After the war began last week, Mr. Chretien said, "If we start to go and change every government that we do not like in the world, where do we stop? Who is next?"
However, the day before Mr. Cellucci's speech, the Canadian government softened its position and said it supported President Bush's goal of replacing Saddam with a democratic government.
On Monday, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham told reporters in the capital, Ottawa, that his government hopes the coalition achieves a swift victory, Canada's National Post newspaper reported yesterday.
"Many Canadians are supportive of the United States, and we as a government are supportive of the United States' desire to get rid of Saddam Hussein, to deal with the weapons of mass destruction issue around the world," Mr. Graham said.

Ivory Coast support
The ambassador of the Ivory Coast has pledged his country's support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq and has appealed to Washington to condemn the rebels who have devastated the West African nation.
Ambassador Pascal Kokora wrote Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to express "full support for the valiant and courageous efforts" of coalition forces "to disarm Iraq and to liberate the Iraqi people from a longstanding and brutal dictatorship imposed upon them."
The Ivory Coast and the United States share a common annoyance about France. The U.S. disgust with France is well-known. The Ivory Coast, a former French colony, suspects Paris had some role in encouraging the uprising to protect French economic interests in state-run companies that the Ivory Coast government intended to privatize.
France sent troops last year to the Ivory Coast and brokered a cease-fire. The rebels, however, are refusing to cooperate in a government of national reconciliation, Mr. Kokora said.
"Just as the United States is striking a blow for democracy and freedom in the Middle East, the people of Cote d'Ivoire [the Ivory Coast] are engaged in a crucial struggle of their own to preserve their liberty and rule of law," Mr. Kokora said in the letter, which was released yesterday.
"Our nation, as you are well aware, was attacked on September 19, 2002, by a group of well-armed foreign-supplied rebels who attempted to overthrow the elected government … . Now, more than six months later, these same rebel groups, who have refused to disarm, are bent on fulfilling their strategy to destabilize Cote d'Ivoire, the West African region and to attain power … through the force of arms."
Mr. Kokora urged the United States to "condemn vigorously the actions of the rebel movement who continue to carry out acts of violence against the civilian population."
The United States, however, has accused the government and the rebels of "widespread human rights abuses."

No war on Islam
The U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia is trying to convince Arab audiences that the war in Iraq is about liberation, not domination of the Middle East.
"This is not about Islam. It is not about oil. It is not about occupation," Ambassador Robert Jordan told Agence France-Presse. "The war is about ridding the world of the dangers posed by Saddam Hussein, both to the international community and to the beleaguered people of Iraq."

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