- The Washington Times - Monday, February 9, 2004

Moscow mayor upset

The mayor of Moscow is alarmed by the influence of the United States, which he accused of abusing its superpower status.

Yuri Luzhkov, on a recent Washington visit to promote his new book, criticized the Bush administration for pre-emptive strikes against what it deemed terrorist states and called on the United States to explore the root causes of terrorism, our correspondent Megan McCloskey reports.

“Perhaps efforts should have been made to identify the fundamental cause of those acts,” Mr. Luzhkov said of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

He complained that the United States is trying to impose its will in international affairs.

“One country is making the decisions for the entire world,” he said.

The sovereignty and self-determination of smaller nations are concepts that have “disappeared into thin air,” he said.

Mr. Luzhkov, a popular politician in Russia, was re-elected recently to a third term. After his remarks at the Library of Congress last week, he signed copies of his book, “The Renewal of History,” for admirers who crowded around him for photographs.

Japan’s straight talk

Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato wants to recruit Japanese-Americans to help promote greater understanding between Washington and Tokyo, but he does not want apologists for his country.

“To strengthen this relationship, I would like to seek the help of the Japanese-Americans who possess in-depth understanding of the United States, not as ‘no-matter-what’ kind of defenders of Japan and its policies but as fair-minded, enlightened and effective public arbitrators between the peoples of the two countries,” he said after a recent meeting in Washington between Japanese diplomats and U.S. leaders.

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Democrat and a Japanese-American, pledged to help Mr. Kato improve communications between the two countries, Japan’s Kyodo news service reported.

“The time has come to ensure that the relationships between Japanese-Americans and Japan are strong at all levels from business and politics to arts and academia,” Mr. Inouye said.

“We want to build bridges of understanding so that our children and grandchildren will be Americans proud of their Japanese ancestry.”

Mr. Inouye and Mr. Kato endorsed an education initiative to increase mutual understanding and to encourage Japanese-Americans to participate in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, a government program to promote foreign languages in Japanese schools.

They also endorsed a tourism program that will include building support for the 2005 World Exposition in central Japan.

2nd term in Colombia

William Wood, the U.S. ambassador to Colombia, says Washington supports a constitutional amendment to allow President Alvaro Uribe to run for a second term and keep up his tough fight against Marxist rebels.

Mr. Uribe is limited to one term under the Colombian Constitution, but some legislators are seeking an amendment to allow presidents to run for re-election.

Mr. Wood noted Mr. Uribe’s popularity, especially because of his fight against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which has been hiding in the country’s jungle and mountain strongholds for several months to avoid troops.

“When the country has a firm and popular president like Uribe, this group has always used the tactic of waiting for the next president,” Mr. Wood told the El Tiempo newspaper during the weekend.

He said an amendment to the constitution is “an element that the Colombian people … need to consider.”

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

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