- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 16, 2004

Saudi slams killers

Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan denounced the terrorists who killed American Nicholas Berg and the U.S. soldiers who abused Iraqi prisoners, as he praised the majority of American troops in Iraq.

Prince Bandar, speaking in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, last week, said those who killed Mr. Berg in the name of Islam violated the teachings of “a noble religion.”

He called Abu Musab Zarqawi, the terrorist accused of leading the group that kidnapped and beheaded Mr. Berg, a “criminal deviant.”

Prince Bandar said, “It is not out of character for [Zarqawi and his followers] to commit acts that violate the teachings of Islam, a noble religion that deplores such acts.”

He also cautioned against making generalizations about U.S. troops because a few are accused of mistreating Iraqi prisoners. He reminded reporters that some Americans denounced all Saudis after 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers turned out to be Saudi citizens.

“That is why we should now condemn only those who committed these horrendous acts against Iraqi prisoners and make clear that they do not represent the majority of the U.S. military and certainly not the American people and their morality.”

Brazil cites pressure

Brazilian Ambassador Roberto Abdenur complained of “very unpleasant” pressure from the Bush administration, which is demanding tougher inspections into Brazil’s nuclear-energy program.

He told reporters last week that his country has complied with reasonable requests for inspections during the construction of Brazil’s new uranium-enrichment plant in Resende. It is scheduled to be completed in October.

“Having gone so far in terms of our nonproliferation commitments, it is very unpleasant to be under pressure, sometimes intense pressure, as if we have evil intentions,” he said.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Ehud Olmert, Israel’s vice prime minister and minister of industry and trade. He addresses the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Also attending the conference are: Justice Minister Tommy Lapid; Finance Minister Meir Shetrit; Matan Vilnai, a member of the Israeli parliament; and Ariel Levite, principal deputy director-general of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission.

• Ruud Lubbers, U.N. high commissioner for refugees, who addresses the InterAction Forum 2004.

• Prabhu Pingali of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, who holds a 9:30 a.m. press conference at the National Press Club to release a report on biotechnology.

• Italian professor Vittorio Dan Segre, who discusses the evolution of Italy’s foreign policy in a lecture at the Italian Embassy.

Wednesday

• Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who meets President Bush on Thursday. He also holds talks with Vice President Dick Cheney and House and Senate foreign policy committees. He addresses the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday. Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos and deputy foreign ministers Yannis Valinakis and Panagiotis Skandalakis accompany the prime minister.

• Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri.

Thursday

• Russian chess master and political activist Garry Kasparov holds an 8:30 a.m. press conference at the National Press Club to discuss the threat to democracy in Russia.

• Mukesh D. Ambani, chairman of the Reliance Group, India’s largest business house. He is the guest of honor at the annual dinner of the Asia Society Washington Center.

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

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