- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 8, 2004

Great future for Chile

The former U.S. ambassador to Chile predicted that the South American nation will reach First World economic status within 10 years because of its “sound economic and social policies.”

In a farewell message before leaving last month, Ambassador William Brownfield also praised Chile for promoting democracy and supporting the United States in the wars on terrorism and drug trafficking.

“I have seldom encountered people as warm as those I met while traveling in Chile or as professional as those with whom I have most closely collaborated,” he said in his message, posted on the U.S. Embassy Web site (santiago.usembassy.gov).

Mr. Brownfield said the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement, which took effect in January, has already resulted in an 18 percent increase in bilateral trade. The agreement also removed tariffs on nearly 90 percent of Chile’s exports to the United States.

“Chile’s sound economic and social policies have yielded admirable gains in important and diverse areas, such as per-capita income, literacy and life expectancy,” he said. “At its present growth rate, Chile will statistically join the ‘First World’ within 10 years.”

Chile’s per-capita income is about $10,000 a year, and its gross domestic product is about $155 billion. Its economy grew in 2003 by 3.2 percent.

Mr. Brownfield, a 25-year veteran of the Foreign Service, was replaced by another career diplomat, Craig A. Kelly, a former executive assistant to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Mr. Kelly has not yet taken up his post.

Language dispute

The United States is trying to help Moldova, the poorest nation in Europe, with its latest crisis, this one involving language.

“The U.S. government is involved in the process through the [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] and is cooperating with the European Union to find an equitable solution to this situation,” said Jack Dyer Crouch, the new U.S. ambassador to neighboring Romania.

The OSCE is trying to end a dispute in a southeastern area of Moldova called Dnestr, which declared its independence before Moldova gained its sovereignty after the collapse of the Soviet Union. No nation recognizes Dnestr’s independence.

The dispute pits the Russian-speaking majority in Dnestr against the Romanian-speaking majority in Moldova. Dnestr authorities have shut down schools that teach Romanian using the Latin alphabet instead of the Cyrillic script used in Russian.

Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana, a former ambassador to the United States, said he is working with Mr. Crouch on the dispute.

Saudi ‘diligence’

Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan believes the capture of another top terrorism suspect shows the effectiveness of the kingdom’s efforts to round up some of the most dangerous men in the country.

“The diligence of our authorities, along with the support of our citizens, will continue to bring these criminals to justice,” he said.

With the arrest of Faris Ahmed Jamaan al-Showeel al-Zahrani, the government has narrowed its most-wanted list of terrorism suspects to 11. Of the original list, 12 were killed and three captured before Mr. al-Zahrani.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka, who meets President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Tomorrow

Vahram Nercissiantz, the chief economic adviser to the president of Armenia, holds a 2 p.m. press conference at the National Press Club.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.


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