- The Washington Times - Monday, February 7, 2000

Promise and peril

As it tries to deal with the Palestinians and Syrians and withdraw from Lebanon while protecting its flanks, Israel stands between "promise and peril," Israel's new ambassador said as he presented his diplomatic credentials to President Clinton.

"I stand before you at a defining moment in Israel's history, as we embark upon a final, comprehensive peace with our neighbors," Ambassador David Ivry said at a White House ceremony last week.

"At this historic juncture, fraught with promise and peril, the people of Israel are profoundly grateful for the vital and enduring partnership forged between our nations."

"The special relationship between the United States and Israel constitutes a central pillar of Israel's national security, without which we would be unable to take the necessary risks for peace," he added.

Mr. Ivry said Israel is "fully committed" to achieving peace in the Middle East and "ending the century-long Arab-Israeli conflict."

"We have set bold timetables for reaching a permanent settlement with the Palestinians, are engaged in historic talks with Syria, while at the same time working to reinvigorate the multilateral process and normalize Israel's relations with Arab and Islamic states near and far," he said.

Mr. Ivry praised Mr. Clinton, saying U.S.-Israeli relations "have prospered markedly under your leadership."

Mr. Ivry said the foundation of the partnership is stronger than routine national interests.

"Whereas strategic interests lay as the forefront of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, our shared democratic values, common heritage and fundamental interests form its bedrock," he said.

"The broad cooperation between our two governments and peoples encompass the heights of human endeavor, while transcending politics and geography."

Hungary's millennial

The year 2000 marks more than just a turn of the calendar for Hungary.

It is the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of the nation, notes Hungarian Ambassador Geza Jeszenszky in a letter to friends invited to Hungary's Millennial Gala concert next week.

"For Hungary in the year 2000, millennial means much more than for the rest of the world, more than the passing of the last year of the second millennium and pondering what the next one will bring to mankind," Mr. Jeszenszky wrote.

"By the chance of history, the modern Hungarian state was established in the year 1000 A.D. by Prince Stephen's act of taking baptism in the Christian faith and founding a kingdom along the pattern of its more established neighbors to the West."

This year is also the 10th anniversary of Hungary's first free elections after the fall of communism.

"That was the conclusion of the political transformation of Hungary from communism imposed by the Soviet Union to the choice of the people democracy and a market economy," he wrote.

Career envoys tapped

President Clinton has selected career diplomats for ambassadors to Bahrain and Malawi.

Mr. Clinton nominated Ronald E. Neumann, a former ambassador to Algeria, for Bahrain and Roger A. Meece for Malawi.

Mr. Neumann was ambassador in Algeria from 1994 to 1997 and has served in the diplomatic corps since 1970. His postings have taken him to Senegal, Iran, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Meece, who joined the Foreign Service in 1979, has served in Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi and Cameroon.

He is currently director of the Office of Central African Affairs at the State Department.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

* Bolivian Vice President Jorge Quiroga, who meets members of Congress.

Tomorrow

* Dieter Kastrup, Germany's ambassador to the United Nations, who addresses invited guests at a forum at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies.

Thursday

* British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

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