- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Pakistan nukes safe

Pakistan has secured its nuclear arsenal to protect the weapons from nuclear smugglers, Pakistani Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi said yesterday.

“We have adopted an effective command-and-control system to ensure that our nuclear weapons do not fall into the wrong hands,” he told a conference on nuclear nonproliferation in Washington.

Mr. Qazi also said Pakistan has adopted tight measures to prevent the spread of nuclear-weapons technology.

Earlier this year, Pakistan was embarrassed by the revelations that the country’s top nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, headed a secret network that sold nuclear technology. He confessed to illegal deals with Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Equatorial promises

The president of Equatorial Guinea promised U.S. officials he will reform his government and promote human rights, the ambassador of the energy-rich West African nation said yesterday.

Ambassador Teodoro Biyogo Nsue, reporting on the visit last week, said President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo held “very successful” meetings with administration officials and members of Congress that will help promote better relations between the two countries.

Mr. Nguema met with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to discuss “security, human rights, democracy, transparency and good governance, and trade and investment,” the ambassador said.

The State Department faults Mr. Nguema for “serious human rights abuses” and notes that his 2002 election, in which he received 97 percent of the vote, was plagued with “extensive fraud and intimidation.”

Mr. Nguema also met with Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham to discuss his country’s huge oil and natural-gas reserves.

They “discussed energy-security issues of mutual concern, U.S. advice and assistance that would help Equatorial Guinea further develop its energy resources” and encourage further investment by U.S. energy companies, the ambassador said.

Equatorial Guinea has proven oil reserves of 563.5 million barrels and natural-gas reserves of 68.5 billion cubic meters.

Warning Israel

The U.S. ambassador to Israel yesterday bluntly told Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to keep his commitments he gave to President Bush and dismantle West Bank settlements.

Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer told Israel’s Army Radio that Mr. Sharon made those promises on a recent visit to Washington, when he outlined plans to remove dozens of unauthorized outposts and freeze new construction in official Jewish settlements.

“These are commitments undertaken by Israel. They are not as a result of any pressure from our side, so this is something that Israel undertook to do, and, therefore, sure, we expect them to be fulfilled,” he said.

Bankrolling Jordan

The United States yesterday delivered the final installment in this year’s financial aid to Jordan to help stabilize the economy, U.S. Ambassador Edward W. Gnehm said.

He signed one agreement to provide $100 million to help boost the country’s balance of payments, ease its foreign debt and pump up its foreign-currency reserves.

A second agreement will earmark $19 million to encourage foreign investment.

The money brings the U.S. aid to $348.5 million this year.

“These agreements highlight the strong and lasting commitment of the American people to support Jordan as it continues to undertake bold reforms efforts aimed at creating prosperity for all Jordanians,” he said at a signing ceremony with David Barth of the U.S. Agency for International Development and Jordanian Planning Minister Bassem Awadallah.

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

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