- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 11, 2007

Defending Pakistan

U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker is urging both the United States and Pakistan to “stay engaged” in the fight against Taliban terrorists as he leaves Pakistan after 2 years to take up duties in Iraq.

“We face a determined, resilient enemy, an enemy who is not ready to give up its fight,” Mr. Crocker said in an interview on Pakistan’s Khyber television.

“There are no easy answers. There are no quick solutions. We have to stay engaged.”

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf faces growing complaints in the U.S. Congress from critics who accuse him of failing to crush the Taliban resistance holed up in remote parts of Pakistan, but Mr. Ryan noted the deaths of hundreds of Pakistani soldiers fighting the Taliban as proof of Mr. Musharraf’s commitment in the war on terrorism.

He also praised Mr. Musharraf’s plan to promote economic and social development in the border region to combat extremism.

“It is not all about military options,” Mr. Ryan said. “You have to bring in these other options, too. At the same time, I think we would all agree that efforts have to be made to see that militant activities inside the region and across the border come to an end. We all need to figure out how we can do more to eventually defeat this enemy.”

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Defense Minister Amir Peretz of Israel, who meets with Rep. Tom Lantos, California Democrat and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent. Tomorrow, he meets with Defense Secretary M. Robert Gates.

• Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Israel and Brig. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, former commander of the Israel Defense Forces. They address the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

• A delegation from the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt with Gamal Moharam, executive vice president; Hamed Fahmy, vice president for membership; Omar El Derini, vice president for programs; Ahmed Abou Ali, vice president for legal affairs; Omar Mohanna, treasurer; and Hisham Fahmy, executive director.

• Economy Minister Sheikha Lubna al Qasimi of the United Arab Emirates, who addresses the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

• Transportation Minister Lawrence Cannon of Canada, who joins Transportation Secretary Mary Peters for a 1:45 p.m. press conference at Ronald Reagan National Airport’s Terminal A Historic Lobby to announce new air services between the United States and Canada.

Tomorrow

• Panagiotis Panouris, secretary-general of the Greek Ministry of Justice and chairman of the Hellenic Inter-Ministerial Committee on Trafficking in Persons. He participates in a panel discussion about modern slavery at 2 p.m. in Room 2203 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

• Margaret Alva, general secretary of the All India Congress Committee, who attends a reception at the Indian Embassy.

Thursday

• Peter Hain, Britain’s secretary of state for Northern Ireland, who helps inaugurate Rediscover Northern Ireland, a program to promote the British province.

Friday

• Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama of Sri Lanka, who meets with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and holds a 4 p.m. press conference at the Sri Lankan Embassy, 2148 Wyoming Ave. NW.

• Pham Gia Khiem, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Vietnam, who is honored at a luncheon at the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council. He is accompanied by a delegation that includes Vu Duc Dam, vice minister of post and telecommunications.

• Raymundo Magliano Filho, president of the Sao Paulo, Brazil, stock exchange, who addresses the Inter-American Dialogue.

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

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