- The Washington Times - Friday, October 17, 2008


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Palestinians to continue dismantling the “infrastructure of terrorism and to promote an atmosphere of tolerance,” as she praised Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for his efforts to combat extremism and corruption.

“What a difference Salam Fayyad has made to his people, to his region, to the world,” Miss Rice told the Palestinian Business and Investment Forum, sponsored by American Task Force on Palestine in Washington this week.

“Prime Minister Fayyad has instituted reforms that I think people had clamored for for years but really never thought possible. He is making a difference in the lives, first and foremost, of the Palestinian people. His leadership is truly extraordinary.”

Mr. Fayyad, 56, is widely regarded as a pro-Western political leader who developed close working relations with Israeli officials. He has been prime minister since June 15, 2007. He earlier served as finance minister and cleaned up the books of the Palestinian Authority, which had suffered for years from corruption.

Miss Rice said she agreed with Mr. Fayyad that the Israeli “occupation must end” but that, in the meantime, Palestinians must begin developing the foundations for a Palestinian state.

“Because he is building a foundation for that state, people can see on the horizon a day when, indeed, Palestinians will govern themselves and not just govern themselves but govern themselves wisely,” she said.

However, she added, Palestinians must end their support for terrorism against Israel if they expect to achieve peace with the Jewish state.

“The Palestinian Authority has to continue to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism and promote an atmosphere of tolerance,” Miss Rice said.

“Again, I have heard from Salam Fayyad that the first infrastructure of terrorism that must be dismantled is in people’s minds, that the people must be willing to say that terrorism and extremism are simply not and will not be the future of the Palestinian people.”

In a speech to the same audience on Sunday, Mr. Fayyad called on Israel to withdraw its settlements from Palestinian territory and on Palestinians to shift away from feelings of “doom and gloom.”

“The greatest obstacle that has prevented us Palestinians from achieving our national goals was not occupation per se or factionalism, not poverty or separation, but that deadly erosion of self-esteem and consequent loss of faith in our capacity to get things done,” he said.


The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi on Thursday denounced the Vietnamese government for sentencing a reporter to two years in prison for exposing official corruption.

A police officer who leaked information to the reporter was jailed for one year, and another journalist was convicted in the case but given no prison time.

The sentences “contradict the rights available to journalists under Vietnamese law and the verbal commitment of Vietnamese officials on freedom of the press,” the embassy said in a statement.

The Vietnamese Constitution guarantees press freedom, although the government regularly censors the media.

“The United States has repeatedly called for full freedom of the media in Vietnam and urges the government of Vietnam to support these freedoms, which are so critical to combating social scourges such as corruption and abuse of power and to the further economic development of Vietnam,” the embassy said.

Nguyen Viet Chien, a reporter with the Thanh Nien daily newspaper, was sentenced earlier this week for exposing corruption at the Transport Ministry. The other reporter, Nguyen Van Hai, was released after his conviction.

• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail James Morrison.



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