- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 5, 2004

Charm offensive

Libya’s ambassador to the United Nations mounted a charm offensive in Washington this week at the National Prayer Breakfast and in meetings with members of Congress.

Ambassador Ali Abdessalam Treki is trying to convince U.S. leaders that the mercurial Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi, is sincere in his goal of normalizing diplomatic relations with the United States, which still lists Libya as a terrorist nation.

Mr. Treki told Embassy Row yesterday that Col. Gadhafi’s cooperation with American arms inspectors and Libya’s pledge to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction are the most dramatic examples of the North African nation’s desire to restore contacts with the United States.

“This is a good gesture to prove we are sincere,” he said.

CIA Director George J. Tenet said yesterday that the Libyan development also is an example of a U.S. intelligence success. Speaking at Georgetown University, he said American and British intelligence agents knew details of Libya’s nuclear-weapons program and “penetrated” its foreign nuclear-supplier network.

“It was only when we convinced them that we knew Libya’s nuclear program was a weapons program that they showed us their weapons design,” he said.

Mr. Treki’s trip to Washington is the first visit since his appointment as U.N. ambassador in October and the first by a Libyan diplomat to a prayer breakfast, he said.

Mr. Treki also used his visit to renew contacts with American oil executives, who are eager to return to Libya, he said.

“We need the friendship of the American people. We don’t look at Americans as a country with colonial ambitions,” he said.

Mr. Treki also praised President Bush’s $15 billion program to combat AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean.

“We are very happy with this policy,” he said, adding that it will help create greater unity in Africa, which is one of Libya’s goals.

Mission to Mongolia

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage praised Mongolia for its cooperation in the war on terrorism and help in the reconstruction of Iraq, as he visited the Central Asian nation earlier this week.

Mr. Armitage met with President Natsagiin Bagabandi, Prime Minister Nambaryn Enkhbayar, Foreign Minister Luvsan Erdenechuluun and Deputy Foreign Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold, the Mongolian Embassy in Washington said.

Mr. Armitage “expressed the sincere thanks to the Mongolian government for supporting the U.S.-led war against international terrorism and for its contribution to the postwar Iraqi reconstruction by sending its military peacekeepers,” the embassy said.

He also signed a bilateral and regional cooperation agreement with Mongolia.

Death of a diplomat

Warren Zimmermann, a career diplomat and the last U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia, died this week of pancreatic cancer at age 69.

Mr. Zimmermann was appointed ambassador to Yugoslavia in 1989, as the country was breaking up into warring factions among Muslims, Orthodox Christian Serbs and Catholic Croats. He resigned from the Foreign Service in 1994 to protest the Clinton administration’s failure to intervene in the conflict in Bosnia. President Clinton eventually brokered an accord that ended the conflict.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Mr. Zimmermann was a great defender of human rights.

“Ambassador Zimmermann’s passing is a great loss to American diplomacy and to our State Department family,” he said in a statement.

Among his foreign assignments, Mr. Zimmermann served two tours in Moscow, from 1973 to 1975 and 1981 to 1984. He received the Anatoly Sharansky Freedom Award from the Union of Councils of Soviet Jews for efforts to persuade the former Soviet Union to allow the emigration of Jews.

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

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