Friday, June 25, 2004

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Korea Herald

The murdered hostage

SEOUL — … Many South Koreans are asking their government to pull out our troops in Iraq and not to send any more, as the captors of Kim Sun-il demand. Some politicians joined the candlelight vigil as the citizens’ call was in line with their policy opposing the government’s plan.

… Most Koreans understand that Korea joined the U.S.-led coalition … because their government has a moral and political obligation to do so under its alliance with the United States, even though the mutual defense treaty between the two countries does not exactly call for it. Korea also needs U.S. help in maintaining its security on the peninsula, in the face of North Korean threats … and its nuclear development. …

… Even while Saddam Hussein was fighting his war against Iran, Korean firms built infrastructure in the country. Korea’s basic policy of neutrality in Middle East conflicts has been maintained since 1973 when the government formally recognized the Palestinians’ right to their own territory, despite Israeli protests. …

… While we condemn these terrorists, we call for the conscientious people of the Muslim world to join more proactively in humanity’s efforts to eliminate terrorism.


Sailors seized by Iran

… The fact that British boats had strayed a kilometer inside Iranian territorial waters in a narrow waterway in rough weather did not of itself provide Iran with a face-saving way of handing the sailors back.

… British-Iranian relations have been just as choppy as those waters in Shatt al-Arab. Both sides thought they had a deal when the Iranians agreed to reopen their nuclear program to outside inspection, in return for which Jack Straw and his counterparts from France and Germany agreed to transfer technology to support a peaceful nuclear energy program. Both sides were expecting too much. The inspectors found an 18-year program of concealment, which meant that Iran was well on the way to manufacturing a bomb, and Tehran found … they were still part of [President] Bush’s axis of evil. Iranian threats to resume uranium enrichment have grown. …

… Both Iran and Britain have much to lose from a further fallout. … Tehran has gained much from the destruction of … Saddam. It now has a real presence among the Shi’ites in southern Iraq, all under the noses of British troops. It wants to be treated as a bona fide regional power, not least in the sensitive waters of Shatt al-Arab. Old Europe for its part needs a diplomatic success to show Washington how delicate regional relations in the Middle East can be managed differently. It will be difficult to construct a face-saving deal. It may involve a groveling apology from Britain, but it is in the interests of both sides that oil is poured over troubled waters.

Buenos Aires Herald

An extradition refused

BUENOS AIRES — The decision of federal Judge Claudio Bonadio against granting extradition to Spain of a militant member of the Basque separatist group ETA, Jose Maria Lariz Iriondo, on the grounds that under Argentine law the case against him in Spain has expired, poses an interesting turn of events in the judiciary and politics. And those two areas cannot overlook … the apprehension at possible effects on Argentina’s links with Spain. …

The decision … has considerable political perceptions in that Judge Bonadio will be suspected of playing to a left-wing lobby rather than consider the magnitude of the crimes he is charged with in Spain. … But that does not bear in mind the political and diplomatic perception that in Argentina there is a law for some that need not be applied to all. … The local judiciary is faced with the suspicion that it stopped functioning as an independent entity and is frequently currying favor with an establishment equipped to overlook failings or improve careers.

Judge Bonadio’s finding will be seen as unfriendly by Spain and will provoke endless debate within the legal profession and diplomatic community.

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