- The Washington Times - Monday, August 1, 2005

Saudi condolence

Saudi diplomats are in mourning over the death of King Fahd, whom many had known most of their lives, first as a political leader who helped inaugurate the United Nations in 1945 and later as the monarch for 23 years.

They remember him not just as king of Saudi Arabia, but also as the titular leader of Islam worldwide. The formal title of the monarch is “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,” a reference to Mecca and Medina.

Diplomats yesterday spoke privately but declined to discuss their feelings publicly out of respect for the king.

Rihab Massoud, the charge d’affaires at the Saudi Embassy, said only that “we mourn the death of King Fahd but feel secure and proud in our new leader,” the former crown prince, Abdullah.

Today the embassy will open a book of condolences for those who want to express their sorrow over the death of King Fahd.

The public is invited to sign the book from 1 to 4 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow and Thursday. The embassy is located at 601 New Hampshire Ave. NW.

Alert in Kuwait

The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait is warning Americans there of the threat of terrorist attacks on residential communities and other soft targets.

“Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Terrorist actions may include bombings, hijackings, hostage-taking, kidnappings and assassinations,” the embassy said.

It warned the 13,000 Americans living in Kuwait that “increased security at official U.S. facilities may lead terrorists and their sympathizers to seek softer targets such as public transportation, residential areas and apartment complexes, oil-related facilities and personnel and public areas where people congregate including restaurants, hotels, clubs and shopping areas.”

No ‘people power’

The top U.S. diplomat in the Philippines yesterday expressed support for the country’s embattled president and denounced any attempt to remove her in a popular uprising, like the “people power” revolts that brought down two other leaders.

“I think twice is enough,” Joseph Mussomeli, the charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy, told reporters in the capital, Manila.

He said repeated revolts weaken the governments installed after the uprisings, Reuters news agency reported.

“Each time you do it, it’s like breaking the same bone over and over. It gets weaker and weaker,” he said.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, facing impeachment on charges of election fraud and corruption, came to power in 2001 after an uprising removed President Joseph Estrada. The first “people power” revolt toppled President Ferdinand Marcos, the longtime dictator, in 1986.

Mr. Mussomeli also warned the Philippines against changing its form of government from a presidential to a parliamentary system.

“There’s no real panacea in this,” he said. “There’s always problems with any form of government, and you really have to reform people as well as institutions.”

Mr. Mussomeli is preparing for a new assignment as ambassador to Cambodia.

Cyprus aboard

The ambassador from Cyprus hailed a new security agreement with the United States as a “visible sign” of his country’s cooperation with Washington in the war on terrorism.

Ambassador Euripides L. Evriviades noted that the agreement will allow the United States to board vessels flying the Cypriot flag that are suspected of smuggling nuclear, chemical, biological or radiological weapons.

Cyprus, one of the world’s largest shipping nations, is the first member of the European Union to sign the Proliferation Security Initiative Ship Boarding Agreement.

“The agreement … is a visible sign of our determination to work with the United States to help combat terrorism,” the ambassador said after the signing ceremony last week.

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

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