- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2005

EU praises Iraqis

The foreign minister of the European Union, on a Washington visit this week, praised the constitutional referendum in Iraq as a “great day for democracy” and cheered Iraqi voters for their “immense courage” in the face of terrorist threats.

“I pay tribute to all those Iraqis who cast their votes,” said Benita Ferrero-Waldner. “By voting, Iraqis have confirmed their commitment to democratic change.

“Risking their personal safety to exercise their democratic rights required immense courage. I condemn all violent acts and regret the loss of life and the casualties that occurred.

“These criminal acts have not succeeded in quenching the Iraqi people’s determination to take their political future in their hands. This vote was an important step to a future in which political differences will be settled in Iraq through democratic dialogue and not through violence.”

The European Union has donated more than $500 million since 2003 to help Iraq prepare for its transition to democracy, she said.

Mrs. Ferrero-Waldner was accompanying European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who met with President Bush on Tuesday.

Cyprus trusts EU

The ambassador from Cyprus is placing his faith in the European Union as he searches for a forum to settle the division of his island nation.

“The history of the EU teaches us that one solves problems by embracing them,” said Ambassador Euripides L. Evriviades, writing in the Mediterranean Quarterly.

“If the EU managed to reconcile the French and the Germans, safeguarded and secured the fragile democracies in southern Europe, has brought Eastern Europe into its fold and is pacifying the Balkans and thus unifying the European continent, I am confident that it will do the same for the Cypriots and for the normalization of relations between Cyprus and Turkey.”

He quoted Jean Monnet, one of the founders of the European Union, who said, “When you change the context, you change the problem.”

The ambassador noted that the context is now within the European Union, which admitted Cyprus as a member even though it remains split between ethnic Greeks and Turks. Turkey, which maintains about 30,000 troops to protect the Turkish-Cypriot section of the island, is working on its own bid to become an EU member.

Mr. Evriviades noted that Cyprus agreed to accept Turkey as a candidate, instead of casting a veto to block the lengthy process through which Turkey must go to achieve a position in the 25-nation union.

Turkey eventually will have to recognize the Greek-Cypriot government, which rules the ethnic Greek part of the island, and withdraw its troops if it wants full EU membership, the ambassador said.

He said Cyprus is helping Turkey achieve the vision of its founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

“The paradox is inconvenient for many that Turkey would not have been close to achieving Ataturk’s vision of a full political integration with Europe had it not been for Cyprus,” Mr. Evriviades said.

“We do not presume to advise Turkey as to what to do to promote its interests. What we do know is that [Turkey] had undertaken certain specific commitments toward the EU from which it cannot back away.

“We are focused on the forest, and we have no intention of losing sight of it by focusing on the trees. We are confident that others will do the same.”

Replacing Greenspan

Washington loves to speculate on changes in high places, and one of the latest guessing games is who will replace Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Scripps Howard News Service compiled a list of candidates mentioned from cocktail parties in Georgetown to the halls of Congress.

The list is heavy on economists and current members of the Federal Reserve, but one is a diplomat: David Mulford, the U.S. ambassador to India. Mr. Mulford, 69, is a former Wall Street financial analyst.

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

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