- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Mourning Anna Lindh

Swedish Ambassador Jan Eliasson looked over the crowd of Washington diplomats and Swedish Americans who attended a memorial service for Anna Lindh, the Swedish foreign minister who was slain on September 11 in Stockholm.

“We are grateful that so many of you have come here today to say a last farewell,” he said Tuesday at Washington’s Augustana Lutheran Church.

“Sweden and the Swedish people are still in shock and in deep grief. Anna was a bright light and represented the future of Sweden and, I dare say, Europe.”

Many of the eulogies noted the tragic coincidence that Mrs. Lindh died on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

More than 300 mourners included Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, standing in for Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who was stuck in New York at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly.

Mr. Armitage noted the deep friendship Mr. Powell developed with Mrs. Lindh and said that “only God and the United Nations” could have stopped him from attending the service.

“This new century, still in its infancy, has already seen far too many days of sorrow,” he said. “How strange and terribly sad that this most recent tragedy, the death of one of Europe’s brightest stars and warmest lights, would happen on the particular day that it did. September 11 will be forever dark in the memory of America, and now it must dim the heart of Sweden, too.”

Norwegian Ambassador Knut Vollebaek recalled he first met Mrs. Lindh in 1998 when he served as Norway’s foreign minister.

“We became close,” he said. “Not only was she my closest colleague and best adviser in many areas of foreign policy, she also became a close personal friend.”

Mr. Vollebaek added, “We are weeping and mourning because we miss her so much and because her brutal killing so clearly manifests the evil in our midst.”

Mrs. Lindh was stabbed Sept. 10, while shopping in a department store. She died the next day. Survivors include her husband and two sons. Swedish police yesterday arrested a new suspect and released another for lack of evidence.

Mona Sahlin, Sweden’s minister for democracy and integration, lost a friend of 30 years.

“Of all the days of the year, on September 11, there was once again a crack in time. And through that crack, Anna Lindh disappeared,” she said. “Only 46 years old, she was murdered by a knife, when going to shop for a new jacket. It’s so unfair. It’s so tragic. I feel emptiness, sadness and anger.”

Saudi diplomatic rift

Saudi Arabia has demanded the removal of U.S. Ambassador Robert Jordan, who disturbed Saudi sensitivities by privately revealing Washington’s preference for a successor to the long-ailing King Fahd, according to Saudi reports.

Mr. Jordan said the Bush administration favors Crown Prince Abdullah, 79, to replace the 83-year-old monarch. He also angered several branches of the royal family when he added that Washington wants the next crown prince to come from a younger generation instead of the princes in line for the title, according to the unofficial Saudi Information Agency.

His comments at two dinner parties this spring have been gaining attention outside of the royal circles, where the succession is a hotly contested matter among competing princes.

The State Department so far has said it knows of no displeasure with Mr. Jordan, a political appointee from Texas who used to serve as President Bush’s personal attorney.

The Saudi Information Agency last week reported that Mr. Jordan’s comments especially angered Defense Minister Sultan bin Abul Aziz, first in line for the crown prince title.

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

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