US Secretary of State participates in Ramadan
US Secretary of State Colin Powell participated in iftar, the ceremony of breaking the fast after sunset held in connection with the end of the holy Moslem month of Ramadan in the US State Department in Washington Monday evening. Powell was deeply touched by the ceremony and said, “I learnt to respect Ramadan as a tense religious period, the month of prayers, meditation, and self-renovation of Moslems of the world.” The Secretary of State addressed representatives of the US Moslem communities who were present at iftar and said, the US Administration wants to “increase cooperation with Moslems on all levels.” At that, he added that such cooperation includes scientist exchange programs, commercial expansion, and personal contacts of all kinds with a view “to strengthen mutual understanding between the USA and Islamic countries of the world.”
Personal contacts mean financial aid to the Iraqi opposition, which plays a top-priority in the prospective war campaign in Iraq. At that, no account is taken of protests of the Islamic world saying that anew war in the Gulf area will inevitably destabilize the region. Concerning the Palestine-Israel conflict, Washington’s mediator role is more than ambiguous. The situation is unlikely to change until January 28, when elections to the Knesst are to take place.
When we touch upon mutual understanding in the Arab world, we should remember that in August, President Bush decided to transform an information center of the anti-terrorist coalition, created for a propaganda war with Taliban last autumn, into a permanent structure. The new organization is expected to create an attractive image of the USA in the eyes of foreigners, citizens of the Arab nations first and foremost.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2002/5/16/43/3139_USA.html
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