- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Not a GQ guy

President Bush is not a “GQ kind of guy,” and that may explain why a scathing article in Gentlemen’s Quarterly magazine by the chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has had no effect at the White House, according to a senior administration official.

“I don’t think George Bush is a GQ kind of guy. He’s more Field and Stream,” the official said, referring to a popular outdoors magazine.

In the GQ issue now on the newsstands, Mr. Powell’s chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, says his boss is frustrated by losing policy battles to the Pentagon and expressed doubts that Mr. Powell will serve in a second Bush administration.

Mr. Wilkerson denounced the U.S. sanctions against Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s government as the “dumbest policy on the face of the earth.”

The writer, Wil S. Hylton, added that Mr. Powell’s aides told him “that anything Wilkerson said was the same as hearing it from Powell.”

However, the administration official, who asked not to be identified, said Mr. Powell strongly supports the new Cuba policy and noted that the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, which recommended the measures, served under Mr. Powell’s direction. The policy urges even tighter controls on the tough travel restrictions to Cuba.

On May 6, the day the commission report was released, the State Department insisted that the GQ article was not a distraction. Spokesman Richard Boucher said Mr. Powell had not even read the article.

“The secretary led the commission, worked with the commission, [that] prepared the report,” he said. “I think that’s any evidence anybody needs … to see that the secretary and the president are working together on this new policy.”

Eritrea willing ally

Eritrea may be a poor nation, but the East African country on the Red Sea has offered the United States valuable assets in the war on terrorism, according to Eritrean Ambassador Girma Asmerom.

“Translating words into action, Eritrea has made it clear on a number of occasions that it stands ready to assist the United States in any way it can,” Mr. Asmerom said at the National Press Club this week.

Eritrea has offered the United States the use of two deep-water ports of Assab and Massawa and a new airport that can accommodate planes of any size, the ambassador said.

Mr. Asmerom said Eritrea understands the threat of terrorism because it, too, is battling extremist Muslim groups, such as the Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement and the Eritrean National Alliance. He said both have links to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist network.

“In line with our commitment and contribution to fight terrorism, Eritrea sees itself as linked with the world and the United States in the noble cause to defeat fundamentalism and global terrorism,” he said.

Mr. Asmerom said Eritrea was “the first African nation to join the coalition of the willing” in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Talat, not Denktash

The State Department yesterday recognized political reality when it called Mehmet Ali Talat the leader of the ethnic-Turkish community on Cyprus.

“Our position is that he is the leader of the Turkish Cypriots,” the department said.

For decades, U.S. administrations had recognized Rauf Denktash, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which has diplomatic relations only with Turkey.

That changed when Mr. Talat supported a plan by the United Nations to reunite Turkish and Greek Cypriots, and Mr. Denktash opposed it. Two-thirds of Turkish Cypriots endorsed the plan in a referendum last month. However, a majority of Greek Cypriots rejected it.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected]

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