- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Thanking Cyprus

The Cypriot ambassador recently returned from a home visit where he witnessed his government’s nonstop efforts to evacuate Americans from Lebanon and learned of U.S. appreciation from President Bush and dozens of members of Congress.

“I was proud to see my fellow countrymen welcome with open arms our friends from the United States and from around the world,” Ambassador Euripides L. Evriviades said this week.

“As President Bush and members of Congress stated, the bonds between our people are strong and that strength was especially exhibited during this unfortunate crisis.”

Because of its proximity to Lebanon, Cyprus has been the transit point for foreigners fleeing the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. As of Monday, more than 14,000 U.S. citizens had been evacuated through Cyprus, the ambassador said.

In his letter to Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos on Aug. 1, Mr. Bush wrote, “On behalf of the people of the United States, I express my thanks for the assistance the Republic of Cyprus extended to more than 13,000 Americans who transited Cyprus after departing from Lebanon.

“The acts of kindness that officials of your government and the Cypriot public exhibited underscored the strong ties between our peoples.”

A second letter to Mr. Papadopoulos was signed by 72 members of the Senate.

“The leadership exhibited by the Cypriot government and the generosity of the Cypriot people to accommodate these and the many other citizens of other countries during this trying time will not soon be forgotten by the United States,” said the letter organized by Republican Olympia J. Snowe of Maine and Democrats Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland.

More than 100 members of the House also sent a letter of appreciation.

“Today the whole world is benefiting from Cyprus’ action and leadership in the region,” said the letter written by Michael Bilirakis, Florida Republican, and Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat.

Earlier Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised the “remarkable cooperation” between Cypriot authorities and U.S. Embassy officials in Cyprus.

Mexican review

Two allies of Mexican President-elect Felipe Calderon will discuss today the aftermath of the razor-thin victory over leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, whose angry supporters have nearly shut down Mexico City in a 10-day-old protest for a complete recount of last month’s election.

Juan Molinar, a member of the Mexican Congress from the National Action Party, and Arturo Sarukhan, a foreign policy adviser and spokesman for Mr. Calderon, will hold a 10 a.m. press conference in the National Press Club’s Zenger Room.

Mr. Calderon won the election by 244,000 votes, less than 0.6 percent of the 41 million ballots cast. Mexican election officials yesterday began a recount of 9 percent of the election precincts to determine whether a further review of the ballots is necessary.

Confused

Embassy Row mixed up two Scandinavian diplomats in an item earlier this week concerning a conflict between the government of Sri Lanka and Tamil Tiger rebels.

This column noted that Jon Hanssen-Bauer, Norway’s peace envoy, failed to inform the Sri Lankan government about his meeting with Tamil leaders over the rebels’ capture of a key water reservoir. The government knew about his meeting but did not know of the details of his talks on Monday, a diplomat at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington explained.

The government was unaware of a separate attempt to engage the rebels by Sweden’s Ulf Henriksson, the head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, which was established to oversee a cease-fire signed by the government and the rebels in 2002.

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

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