- The Washington Times - Monday, September 15, 2003

Supporting Nepal

The U.S. ambassador to Nepal denounced “deceitful” communist rebels for breaking a truce, as he promised that the United States would continue to support the Himalayan constitutional monarchy.

Ambassador Michael Malinowski called for an end to the rebellion that had claimed more than 7,800 lives since 1996, when Maoist guerrillas began a civil war to replace the democratic government with a communist one.

“We deplore the breakdown [last month] of the most recent peace dialogue between the government and the so-called Maoist rebels caused by the Maoists’ deceitful return to violence,” he told a symposium on “International Solidarity Against Terrorism” in the capital, Katmandu, last week.

Mr. Malinowski offered U.S. support but promised that Washington would not interfere in their domestic affairs.

“In the spirit of cooperation, not interference, our governments can help Nepal defeat the Maoist threat and re-establish democratic institutions responsive to the needs of the people,” he said.

“While the use of fear and terrorism to gain control is nothing new in the history of the world — it has been used since time immemorial by rebellious groups challenging legitimate governments — the current age of globalization also brought about the internationalization of terrorism.”

Vajpayee at U.N.

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will meet with President Bush next week at the opening of the annual session of the U.N. General Assembly.

Mr. Vajpayee also hopes to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the same visit to New York, Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal said yesterday as he announced the prime minister’s trip.

He said no date has been fixed for the meeting with Mr. Bush.

Mr. Vajpayee is scheduled to address the 58th session of the General Assembly on Sept. 25.

Mr. Vajpayee departs today on a 13-day tour of Turkey, the United States and Switzerland, where he will discuss the reconstruction of Iraq, global terrorism and the future of the United Nations.

Expel Arafat?

A former U.S. ambassador who has worked on President Clinton’s Middle East initiatives says Israel should expel Yasser Arafat if it dismantles some Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.

The Associated Press reported that Martin Indyk told the Brookings Institution last week: “It’s time Arafat move on, but it is clear he is not going to go quietly.”

Mr. Indyk served as ambassador to Israel and as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs when Mr. Clinton was working to persuade the Palestinian leader to accept a peace plan that would have created a Palestinian state on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The Israeli government last week declared Mr. Arafat a “complete obstacle” to peace and said he should be removed. But the Cabinet deliberately did not specify when. On Sunday, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert tried to increase pressure on Mr. Arafat by saying Israel retained the option of killing him. Yesterday, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom sought to play down the comment. “It is not the official policy of the Israeli government,” Mr. Shalom said.

Mr. Indyk, director a Middle East policy center at Brookings, said any expulsion of Mr. Arafat should be accompanied by a decision to remove West Bank settlements.

At the same forum, former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, now head of the Labor Party, criticized the current Likud-led government for failing to block new settlements. He opposed expelling Mr. Arafat.

“While we have to fight terror, we must be careful not to escalate the situation,” he said.

Mr. Peres also said the government, which has isolated Mr. Arafat in his compound, has “tortured him mentally.”

He agreed that Mr. Arafat is a “problem” but added, “Occasionally, you have to live with problems without solving them.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected]om.

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