Embassy Row

Article excerpt

OAS BACK TO PERU

Cesar Gaviria is heading back to Peru to try to help that troubled nation rebuild its fragile democracy.

The secretary-general of the Organization of American States has traveled to Peru several times since a political crisis first developed last summer with the disputed re-election of Alberto Fujimori, who resigned in a government scandal in November. An interim president is ruling Peru until new elections in April.

Mr. Gaviria, who leaves today, said, "Based on the changes in circumstances in the last two months, we need to explore how the OAS can best assist the country now.

"Peru needs the full support of the international community in the coming months, as it prepares to hold new presidential elections."

Mr. Gaviria will be accompanied by Canada's OAS ambassador, Peter Boehm, as they meet President Valentin Paniagua, Foreign Minister Javier Perez de Cuellar and other government and opposition leaders. Canada holds the chairmanship of the OAS General Assembly.

The OAS has worked to foster a democratic dialogue among political leaders and help restore confidence in a government that was damaged by Mr. Fujimori's autocratic rule.

Mr. Fujimori resigned the presidency in Tokyo, where he made a stopover after attending an economic summit in Brunei.

Interviewed on TV Asahi in Tokyo yesterday, Mr. Fujimori invited Peruvian investigators to question him in Japan but said he would return to Peru only if cleared of all corruption charges. He said any return also would depend on the outcome of the April 8 presidential and legislative elections.

Japan determined last month that, because Mr. Fujimori's parents registered his birth at a Japanese consulate in Peru, he is a Japanese citizen and legally able to remain in the country indefinitely.

`EMOTIONAL DECISION'

Richard Celeste, the U.S. ambassador to India, believes the United States acted emotionally when it blocked the visit of a top Indian nuclear scientist after India conducted nuclear tests in 1998.

"With the wisdom that comes with the passage of time, it was a mistake," Mr. …