- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 5, 2004

Georgia cheers reforms

The president of the former Soviet republic of Georgia yesterday pledged that his country will “never again” fall into the political chaos that marked the government of the man he replaced in January.

“We’ve achieved quite some room for maneuver. The results speak for themselves,” Mikhail Saakashvili said. “Georgia will never be again a failed state.”

He met yesterday with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, our correspondent Talar Beylerian reports.

He is due in Atlanta today to receive the American Bar Association’s Central Europe and Eurasian Law Initiative Award for his leadership in legal reform.

Mr. Saakashvili noted his efforts to downsize and clean up the Georgian government since the popular overthrow of former President Eduard Shevardnadze in January.

However, his government still has to deal with violent separatist conflicts in the provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Earlier this week the British Broadcasting Corp. reported that Mr. Saakashvili threatened to sink any ships that try to supply the separatists in Abkhazia, but yesterday he insisted he will never resort to violence.

“Georgia will not use violent means to solve this conflict,” Mr. Saakashvili said, adding that his government ended a separatist conflict in May in the region of Adzharia “without a single shot fired.”

India-U.S. candor

Frank Wisner, a former U.S. ambassador to India, yesterday called for more “candor and trust” in bilateral relations and called India a major force in the global economy.

Mr. Wisner, now a vice president with the American International Group, also said Washington must continue to build relations with Pakistan, India’s regional nuclear rival, because of the threats posed by al Qaeda terrorists there.

Delivering a lecture in India’s financial capital, Bombay, Mr. Wisner said, “India is emerging as a major economic player in the world today. … The U.S.-India business ties are strengthening on most fronts and this platform will present a large opportunity for building a stronger commercial and trade relationship.”

Mr. Wisner, ambassador to India from 1994 to 1997, urged Washington and New Delhi to “learn to talk with candor and trust and develop a conception about how peace can be pursued and achieved.”

He noted that the two countries approach terrorism in different ways, as India targets threats within its region and the United States is trying to “forge a global coalition” against terrorists.

Embassy not amused

It may have been an attempt at political humor in Ukraine’s presidential campaign, but the U.S. Embassy was not laughing.

Members of a Ukrainian nationalist group called the “Brotherhood” collected signatures this week to qualify U.S. Ambassador John Herbst to run in the Oct. 31 election, according to reports from the capital Kiev.

They claimed that Washington is secretly funding the campaign of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, a pro-Western candidate who favors open markets and free trade. Mr. Yushchenko, who is leading in the polls, strongly denied the accusation.

Brotherhood leader Dmytro Korchynsky said Mr. Herbst should stop wasting “money for a middleman” and run himself. To encourage his candidacy, Brotherhood members gathered signatures at a subway station and waved American flags.

When an Associated Press reporter asked the embassy for a comment, a spokesman said the Brotherhood’s antics did not merit a response.

Mr. Yushchenko is expected to face Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in the presidential election.

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


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