- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Another German voice

Two conservative members of the German parliament came to Washington to tell the Bush administration that not all Germans embrace the anti-Americanism of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

The message they said they got from the White House and Capitol Hill is that Mr. Schroeder seriously damaged relations with the United States by bashing the Bush administration for domestic political reasons and by blocking U.S. efforts at the United Nations and in NATO.

"Relations can be repaired and have to be repaired," Christian Schmidt told editors and reporters over lunch at The Washington Times yesterday.

"America needs a strong Europe, not a divided Europe," said Karl-Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg.

Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Guttenberg, both members of the Christian Social Union, said they strongly disagree with Mr. Schroeder, but are not yet prepared to endorse war against Iraq.

Mr. Schmidt, the party's spokesman on defense and security issues, and Mr. Guttenberg, a member of the foreign-affairs committee, said they hope the U.N. Security Council will force Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to disarm through diplomatic efforts.

"There is a danger of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism in Iraq," Mr. Schmidt said.

But, Mr. Guttenberg said, "As a last resort, military action would be acceptable." The two pointed out that Security Council Resolution 1441 authorized a military invasion if Saddam is found in "material breach" of the measure.

In their meetings with the National Security Council and the Pentagon and with congressional Republicans, the two visitors noted strong reactions against Mr. Schroeder's tactics and support for a military strike. Democrats were more skeptical about war, they said.

"We are probably closer to the arguments of the Republicans," Mr. Guttenberg said, adding that "there still might be a tiny chance for a peaceful solution."

Pope appeals to Bush

Pope John Paul II yesterday sent an envoy to Washington to appeal to President Bush to avoid war in Iraq.

Cardinal Pio Laghi, a former Vatican ambassador to the United States, said he hopes to meet Mr. Bush tomorrow to deliver a letter from the pope. The White House said yesterday that no meeting has been scheduled yet.

The Vatican yesterday denied a report that the pope plans to travel to New York to appeal directly to the U.N. Security Council.

Cardinal Laghi, a friend of Mr. Bush's father, said the military buildup by the United States and Britain is pressuring Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein into disclosing his weapons and that inspections should be given more time.

"They are using a deterrent that in a certain sense is producing results because Saddam, even if he isn't folding, is conceding some ground to the inspectors," Cardinal Laghi said before boarding his plane.

"The position of the pope and the Vatican is clearly that war should be avoided. Some people think the war has already started, but we don't believe that," he added.

James Nicholson, the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, has tried to get the pope to consider a war against Iraq morally justified, but the Vatican has said a pre-emptive strike would be a "war of aggression."

Embassy opened in Kenya

The new U.S. Embassy in Kenya is a "symbol of triumph and hope" over "evil and intolerance," U.S. Ambassador Johnnie Carson said yesterday, as he helped dedicate the diplomatic mission more than four years after a terrorist bomb destroyed the old embassy.

"This is a very historic day," Mr. Carson said. "[The embassy] has risen out of the ashes of the enormous tragedy of Aug. 7, 1998."

Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network claimed credit for two bombs on the same day that destroyed U.S. embassies in downtown Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, and Dar es Salaam, the Tanzanian capital. The blasts killed 224 persons, including 12 Americans, and injured more than 5,000 people.

"This building is a permanent and living memorial, a symbol of triumph and hope and steadfast determination in the face of evil and intolerance," Mr. Carson said of the new embassy in a suburb of the capital.

Grant Green, undersecretary of state for management, and Kenyan Foreign Minister Kalonzo Musyoka opened the dedication ceremony.

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