In the July 19 Diplomatic Dispatches column, Andreas Kakouris was incorrectly identified. He is the deputy chief of mission at the Cypriot Embassy. (Published 07/20/2000)
Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the leader of the Jamiat-e-Islami party in Pakistan, has been dined but probably not wined in Washington this week.
Ahmad, whose title is ameer (prince of believers), has been a fixture of the political landscape in Pakistan for the last 10 years and has sought to portray himself as the moderate face of Islam in his country. Last year, his party disassociated itself from a faction that had trained fighters in Afghanistan and sent them to Kashmir. Ahmad is obviously here with the tacit blessing of the military regime in Pakistan because he was hosted last week at the residence of its ambassador here, Maleeha Lodhi.
Unlike groups that support armed insurrection or Islamic holy war in places such as Kashmir, Jamiat is not described by State Department sources as a domestic or international threat. The party does espouse strict social practices concerning women.
Ahmad told Washington Post editors and reporters he felt at home in the United States and stressed that "for the future, we should not look for a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West."
Immaculately dressed in a crisp white serwal kamis--tunic and pants--and a wool hat, Ahmad stressed his party has "no connection" with accused terrorist and fugitive Saudi financier Osama bin Laden and noted that it does not support any subversive activity against any country. He noted, however, that since Jamiat-e-Islami is a political party and bin Laden is so popular in Pakistan, his own group "cannot afford to comment against Osama bin Laden or support any move against him." A State Department official said Ahmad is "riding a tiger" on the bin Laden issue.
Ahmad has done the think-tank circuit and met with such officials at the State Department as Michael Sheehan from counter-terrorism and Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs Karl Inderfurth.
He said the situation in Kashmir--the majority Muslim territory in dispute between India and Pakistan--is "the unfinished business of the agenda of partition." On the position of women in conservative Pakistan, Ahmad averred that they should be respected and accorded privileges because of their child-bearing and child-rearing roles, but they can also be doctors and engineers.
How often does one see a couple of ambassadors dancing in the rain? It was mostly Cypriot Ambassador Erato Kozakou Marcoullis whose spirit was moved by the Greek music Sunday night. She twirled and dipped, in a combination of traditional dances, oblivious to the droplets tapping on a roof terrace on Connecticut Avenue. The setting offered an enchanting moonlit panorama of the city and its towering landmarks in the background.
She was joined briefly by Greek Ambassador Alexandre Philon and his departing deputy chief of mission, Andreas Kakouris, who is returning home after what he described as "four wonderful years" in Washington. Quipped hostess Marcia Christoff Kurop, associate editor at Defense News and Space News: "No matter how long good friends stay apart, six weeks, six months, six years, when they get together it is always like old times. . . . So it is with the Cyprus question--it will always be there for you." Kakouris said he still held great hopes for a "united, federal bi-zonal, bi-communal Cyprus."
In Aid of Lebanon
As the dust settles on Israel's pullout from Lebanon, a group of donor countries, including the United States, will gather next week in Beirut for a preparatory conference called by Prime Minister Salim Hoss to assess southern Lebanon's immediate needs for assistance and reconstruction.
The meeting on July 27 is in preparation for a consultative group meeting in the fall that will be run by the World Bank. The United States and other Western countries, as well as Japan, will be represented at ambassador level, while Inder Sud, country director for Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will represent the World Bank at the preliminary session next week.
State Department officials here said U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield and USAID Beirut representative Spike Stevenson will attend. "From our perspective, convening a World Bank-hosted event later on in the year will give the international community time to prepare and to give the government of Lebanon time to assert its authority over South Lebanon . . . an essential precondition and the operative phrase for an effective aid program and our ability to contribute meaningful assistance," a State Department official said.
Lebanon has been stalling on deploying its army in the south of the country pending the rectification of minor border encroachments by Israel, which ended its 22-year occupation of the area in May. No money has yet been requested, the official pointed out: "At the appropriate time, we will consult with Congress."
"We as a bank have no such mandate or views," Sud said.