- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Craven acts of evil’

Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan is trying to reassure Americans of his country’s determination to fight terrorism, after several attacks on Americans working in the oil-rich kingdom.

“The attacks on Americans living in Saudi Arabia are craven acts of evil,” he said. “The actions of the terrorists represent the misguided nature of the few people who want to stop the movement toward progress and modernity in the kingdom.”

Prince Bandar said the terrorists who are attacking foreigners in Saudi Arabia want to “shake our will, to frighten away our friends and allies, and to undermine our society.”

His government is at “war with these terrorists and with their ideology of hate.”

He expressed his condolences to the families of two Americans who were killed in the past week and one who was kidnapped.

“There is no justification for these brutal acts, no justification whatsoever,” Prince Bandar said. “We will continue to provide security for all people living in Saudi Arabia, and, God willing, we will uproot the terrorists wherever they may hide.”

About 35,000 Americans work in the oil industry or as military and civilian advisers. They are among the estimated 6 million foreign workers in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, a prestigious consulting firm added its warning for Americans to leave that country.

The GeoScope Group this week said its “highly placed sources” in both the Saudi and U.S. governments are “vehemently warning of additional attacks.” The firm first predicted attacks against foreigners in its May 30 travel warning.

Evil empire

Natan Sharansky recalled sitting in a Soviet jail cell as a political prisoner when he learned that Ronald Reagan had called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.”

“I remember a burst of enthusiasm this gave to political prisoners,” Mr. Sharansky, an Israeli Cabinet member, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Washington last week.

“Finally, here was a Western leader willing to call things as they are and expose the true essence of the Soviet Union.”

Mr. Sharansky, mourning the death of the former president, praised Mr. Reagan for his courage.

“We dissidents always knew and felt that the most important thing was not to give in to illusions, not to be deceived by the Soviet Union, and that one day, when the West finally saw the Soviet Union for what it was, there would be hope for victory,” he said.

Yelena Bonner, another former dissident who appeared with Mr. Sharansky, said her husband, the late Nobel Prize-winning physicist Andrei Sakharov, supported Mr. Reagan’s decision to build up the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Mr. Sakharov thought that “only then would the Soviet Union take steps to disarm,” said Mrs. Bonner, a Russian human rights advocate.

Olympic flame

The Greek ambassador heralded the arrival in the United States of the Olympic torch that was lighted in Greece in March.

“Many festivities are being planned to celebrate the passing of the flame, which symbolizes the values that united us all: peaceful cooperation, noble competition and the pursuit of excellence,” Ambassador George Savvaides said.

“These Olympic values are more important than ever in today’s world. Let us refocus on them as the Olympic flame makes its way through the United States.”

The torch arrives in Los Angeles today. It travels to St. Louis tomorrow, Atlanta on Friday and New York on Saturday. It is scheduled to return to Greece July 9 for the Summer Games in August.

The flame was lighted in Olympia, where the first games were held in 776 B.C., the ambassador said.

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

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