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FEER: Mahathir Eyes the White House
19/7/2001 11:08 pm Thu
[Berita ini agak pendek tetapi berguna. Mahathir begitu
kempunan untuk bertandang ke Rumah Putih menemui Presiden Bush.
Sebelum ini beliau telah menemui Dennis Blair, Komander Admiral
U.S. di Asia-Pasifik, dan Lynn Pascoe, Diplomat Amerika di sini.
Krisis ekonomi dan politik serantau nampaknya membimbangkan
Mahathir. Kemana lagi dia perlu mengadu jika tidak kepada tuannya....
(Estrada, Thaksin dan Gus Dur sedang dihenyak mahkamah dan kebangkitan
luar biasa rakyat. Singapura yang hebat itu pula sedang menggelongsor..)
Issue cover-dated July 26, 2001
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad is getting
almost frantic in his efforts to wrangle an invitation to visit
the White House. In recent months, he has sent three letters
to President George W. Bush, including one in which he
congratulated the new president on his handling of the
surveillance aircraft incident with China in April, according
to Asian diplomats in Washington. Right after the incident,
Mahathir had seemed to sympathize with China, telling the
press that "no country likes to be spied on." Mahathir has
also sent three envoys to Washington--former UN
Ambassador Razali Ismail, Finance Minister Daim
Zainuddin (prior to his recent retirement) and Foreign
Minister Syed Hamid Albar--to meet Bush's foreign-policy
team, check whether the new administration was interested
in improving relations and take a sounding on whether a
visit might be possible. Back in Kuala Lumpur, the prime
minister has taken unprecedented steps to improve relations
with the U.S. by meeting with U.S. Asia-Pacific Commander
Adm. Dennis Blair and Ambassador Lynn Pascoe. Relations
soured after Mahathir fired and arrested his deputy Anwar
Ibrahim in 1998, prompting criticism from U.S.
Vice-President Al Gore. After his meeting with Pascoe,
Mahathir told journalists that he told the American envoy
that "we feel we could probably improve our relationship
with the new administration and do away with whatever
differences we have had."