- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 19, 2004

Ready for trouble

The United States and the Afghan government are prepared for any terrorist attacks aimed at disrupting next month’s presidential election, according to the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters in Washington that he expects al Qaeda and the remnants of the former Taliban regime will try to mount “spectacular attacks” before the Oct. 9 elections.

“I expect that as we go toward the election and on election day, they will try to disrupt. The area where they are going to be most active is along the border with Pakistan,” he said last week on a visit here for consultations with the State Department.

Terrorists will face the combined strength of 9,000 troops of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and 13,500 soldiers of the Afghan national army.

“The Afghan government, ISAF, they are all ready for it,” he said.

Mr. Khalilzad called the election a milestone on Afghanistan’s difficult road to democracy.

“For the first time in their several thousand years of long history, Afghans will choose their president, their leader, in a broad process through direct voting,” he said.

Cyprus bill

Cypriot Ambassador Euripides L. Evriviades applauded a new congressional move to deal with property claims in the Turkish-Cypriot part of the divided island.

A bill introduced by Reps. Michael Bilirakis, Florida Republican, and Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat, would allow Americans to seek financial compensation from either Turkey or the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey.

“This legislation is a key step in providing the opportunity to those Cypriot-Americans displaced by the 1974 Turkish invasion to claim their rightfully owned property in occupied northern Cyprus,” the ambassador said.

Turkish forces intervened after Greek officers engineered a coup that overthrew the last government of a united Cyprus. Turkish-Cypriots, who consider Turkish troops protectors and not occupiers, established their own government after the coup.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, who addresses the Asia Society.

• Seydou Diarra, prime minister of the Ivory Coast, who meets with officials at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Tomorrow

• Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, who discusses business opportunities in Peru in an address at George Washington University.

• Pierre Th. Braunschweig, author of “Secret Channel to Berlin.” He discusses the role Swiss intelligence played in World War II in a forum at the International Spy Museum.

Wednesday

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who meets President Bush.

Ernst Walch, foreign minister of Liechtenstein.

Ali Alatas, Indonesia’s former foreign minister, who discusses Indonesia’s presidential election at 2 p.m. at the National Press Club.

Thursday

Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who addresses a joint session of Congress and meets with Mr. Bush.

Slovak Defense Minister Juraj Liska, who attends a Slovak Embassy reception to mark the 60th anniversary of the Slovak national uprising against the Nazis in World War II.

Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks, who meets State Department officials.

Friday

uripides Stylianidis, Greece’s deputy foreign minister in charge of international economic relations. He meets with Andrew Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, and State Department officials.

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

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