- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2006

Algeria’s proposal

The Algerian ambassador cited his North African country as an example of how to fight terrorism by aggressively pursuing extremists and promoting democracy and development.

Ambassador Amine Kherbi said governments must cooperate internationally and improve the lives of their citizens domestically.

“Combating terrorism will be more efficient if it includes a vigorous fight against international crime and a search for satisfactory resolution of economic and social problems, including poverty and HIV/AIDS,” he said in a speech at the National Defense University.

“The security challenge can no longer be viewed separately from the challenge of development,” he said.

Mr. Kherbi, who delivered copies of his November speech to editors and reporters at The Washington Times last week, added, “The bilateral, regional as well as multilateral cooperative efforts must be guided by universal principles of impartiality, transparency, good faith and equality of treatment.”

He said Algeria applied such principles in its own long fight against terrorism. The government canceled legislative elections in 1991 when the extremist Islamic Salvation Front, FSI by its French initials, appeared poised to win a sweeping victory.

The FSI turned to terrorism, and the government eventually crushed the movement with the arrests of about 50,000 members of the group. Abdelaziz Bouteflika won the presidency in 1999 in an election marred by fraud and other problems.

However, his re-election in 2004 was the “first democratically contested” vote since independence from France in 1962, the State Department said. Terrorist violence today claims about 40 to 50 lives a month, down dramatically from the average of 1,200 in the 1990s.

Mr. Kherbi called for a broad-based fight against terrorists.

“It is necessary to cut terrorists once and for all from their supply bases, their relays, resources and ramifications by depriving them of their sanctuaries that they have been using, here and there, resorting to the cover provided by an abusive, accommodating and complacent asylum policy,” he said.

Mr. Kherbi lamented the condition of the international fight against terrorism.

“We should recognize that, with everything that the tragic events of September 11 [2001] have demonstrated,” he said, “our methods to combat terrorism are still inadequate.”

Turkish-Cypriot aid

The ambassador from Cyprus says his government is satisfied by the European Union’s decision to provide direct aid to the breakaway ethnic Turkish administration on the northern part of the divided island.

“We warmly welcome the adoption of the regulation establishing an instrument of financial support for the Turkish-Cypriots, making thus available to them the sum of 139 million euros,” said Ambassador Euripides L. Evriviades, referring to the aid that amounts to $165 million.

The ethnic-Greek government, which is the internationally recognized representative of whole island, lifted its objection to the EU financial package after European officials dropped plans to lift the trade embargo on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is recognized only by Turkey.

The original EU proposal was crafted to urge Turkish-Cypriots to support a reunification plan drafted by the United Nations. Greek-Cypriots rejected the plan in a May 2004 referendum. The European Union admitted the Greek-Cypriot government into the union later that month.

At EU headquarters in Brussels yesterday, European foreign ministers said the money will help end the isolation of the TRNC and promote contacts with Greek-Cypriots.

EU officials last week approved measures to begin membership talks with Turkey, which has maintained 40,000 to 50,000 troops in the TRNC since 1974 after the Greek military dictatorship engineered a coup to overthrow a government that included Cypriots from both ethnic groups.

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

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