- The Washington Times - Friday, June 2, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Yomiuri Shimbun

U.S. realignment plan

TOKYO — With Cabinet approval Tuesday, the government adopted the basic policy on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.

Many difficult problems remain to be solved, such as how to come up with the 3 trillion yen or so [nearly $27 billion] needed to finance the realignment, and a decision on construction plans for a facility to replace Futenma Air Station in Nago [Okinawa].

With regard to the transfer of U.S. Marines to Guam, the government will put a sizable amount of state funds into the construction of facilities there for use by U.S. forces, marking the first time that government money has been spent for such purposes outside Japan.

For its part, the Okinawa prefectural government has expressed opposition to the Cabinet approval, saying consultations on the matter with local governments were insufficient.

The central government needs to decide on construction plans without delay by winning the cooperation of local governments, including prefectural governments, through talks in the days ahead.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will visit the United States [in late June] to meet U.S. President George W. Bush. It is important for the two leaders to reconfirm the accord on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan reached by ministers, and to confirm the deepened alliance. That would help achieve the latest Cabinet decision.


Illegal immigration

GOTEBORG, Sweden — What means are we prepared to use to keep out the poor of this earth?

President Bush wanted to use National Guard troops to strengthen control of the Mexican border. Even without the military, this border is already regarded as the world’s most guarded.

Despite this, 6 million Mexicans live illegally in the United States. They are needed just as much by U.S. farming as the illegal Africans are in the Spanish greenhouses. And what were the soldiers supposed to do at Rio Grande? Shoot unarmed immigrants? …

The only thing that can stop illegal immigration in Europe is hope. The chance to emigrate legally to Europe is in everybody’s interest. But above all, it is in everybody’s interest to fight poverty in Africa. Those with hope do not risk their lives in a rowboat on the Atlantic.

Egyptian Gazette

A Mideast peace

CAIRO — Next week’s meeting between President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheik rekindles hopes that a long impasse in regional peacekeeping will be broken.

The talks, the first between Mubarak and Olmert since the latter assumed Israel’s premiership, come less than two weeks after the Israeli premier visited Washington. In the United States, Olmert looked at pains to obtain blessings for his plan to unilaterally set Israel’s borders with the Palestinians. The blueprint won cautious support from the Bush administration, whose image has been in tatters in the Middle East, partly due to its perceived bias toward Israel.

Olmert has threatened to go ahead with his plan with or without negotiations with the Palestinians. His so-called “realignment” plan envisages removing isolated settlements in the West Bank, bolstering major enclaves and setting permanent borders by 2009 if peacemaking with the Palestinians remains blocked.

The blueprint has drawn vehement opposition from the Palestinians, who understandably view it as a fresh attempt to gobble up more Palestinian land and foist an Israeli agenda on them.

Egypt, which was the first Arab country to make peace with Israel in the late 1970s, firmly believes that for peace to prevail in this long-trouble part of the world, it should be fair and the result of negotiations.

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