IN THEIR OPINION

Karadzic is victor in hostage drama

RADOVAN KARADZIC has essentially reached his goal with the UN hostages and is able "generously" to release them in the rhythm of international discussion.

The Serbian leader, apparently reconciled with his political foster-father [Slobodan] Milosevic, the Serbian president, has put the UN in checkmate. The victor of the hostage drama is Radovan Karadzic. He succeeded in catapulting himself back into the headlines and to reduce the future "peacekeeping" role of the UN to the protection of its own people.

- Der Bund Bern, Switzerland

Misunderstood Muslims

AT a time when Islam is being the target of vicious campaigns, we in the Muslim world need to reassert the true teachings of our religion. Obviously that was not in the mind of the Egyptian court that ordered the separation of professor Nasr Hamed Abu Zeid from his wife after finding him guilty of apostasy.

The religion encourages its followers to analyze issues of pertinence to their lives. The way to clear the dispute can be inspired by the religion itself: Dialogue. The Egyptian court's ruling should be immediately contested and reversed. That should be done not just out of concern for the lives of Dr. Abu Zeid and his wife. It must be done out of respect for Islam itself, its teachings and its tolerant nature.

- The Jordan Times, Amman

Help rebuild Vietnam

IT is in the interests of Vietnam, the US, and the Asia-Pacific that the two former enemies should develop normal political, trade, and investment relations. The main obstacle, as ever, remains the intransigence of many Americans who think their country should have nothing to do with the regime they could not defeat in war.

But the war ended more than 20 years ago. Sixteen months ago the US Senate voted to lift the US economic embargo on Vietnam. The embargo had held back Vietnam's economy and made it all the more difficult to rebuild the country's war-damaged infrastructure. Other Southeast Asian nations, interacting with the US, have been able to develop dynamic economies. Why should Vietnam continue to be punished for winning the war?

- The Australian, Sydney

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