- The Washington Times - Monday, June 5, 2000

Praise for Guatemala

Guatemalan Ambassador Ariel Rivera is proudly displaying a letter written by 49 members of the U.S. Congress, praising Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo Cabrera for his human rights efforts.

The congressional letter also cites Mr. Portillo's moves to bring the security service under civilian control.

"The significant proof of support to President Portillo is an unprecedented expression of the U.S. Congress with respect to the government of Guatemala in recent years," Mr. Rivera said in a statement.

"The message constitutes a clear indicator of the international community's assessment of the measures taken toward governance, a new policy on human rights, the consolidation of the civilian control upon the structures of the state that have traditionally been under military control, and the new policy on human rights."

Mr. Portillo has also established new control over the military by appointing a civilian as defense minister.

Support for Slovakia

The United States believes the new government of the Slovak Republic has made enough progress to join a major economic forum, the Slovak Embassy reports.

The reports cited comments made last week by Doug Hengel, the charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Slovakia. He said Washington will support Slovak membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Mr. Hengel noted Slovakia's progress since Mikulas Dzurinda became prime minister in 1998. He replaced Vladimir Meciar, whom the United States viewed as an authoritarian leader.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• President Ange Felix Patasse of the Central African Republic. He meets members of Congress and State Department officials.

• Ilias Akhmadov, foreign minister of Chechnya, who holds a 9 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club.

• Yoram Hazony, president of the Shalem Center of Jerusalem, who addresses invited guests of the American Enterprise Institute on the birth of a "new Israel."

Tomorrow

• Mayor Emrullah Cin of Viransebir, Turkey, and Mayor Sahabettin Ozaslener of Van, Turkey, who testify at a hearing on Turkey before the congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe at 10 a.m. in Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

• Malathi de Alwis of Sri Lanka; Dolores Gonzales of Mexico; Anna Ignatieva of Russia; Spes Manirakiza of Burundi; Mary Okumu of Kenya; and Martha Euugenia Segura of Colombia. The six experts on women's rights hold a panel discussion on women and peace with invited guests of the Women's Foreign Policy Group.

Wednesday

• Rotimi Suberu, a political science professor at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, discusses political change in Nigeria with invited guests of the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Thursday

• Jordan's King Abdullah, who meets President Clinton.

• Ina Zoon, former vice president of the Romanian League for Human Rights, Monika Horakova, a member of the Czech parliament, Rumyan Russinov, director of the Roma Participation Project in Bulgaria, Angela Kocze, a Hungarian member of the European Roma Rights Center, and Karolina Banomova, a member of the Czechoslovak Roma Association in Canada. They will discuss discrimination against the Gypsy population in Central Europe at a congressional hearing of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The hearing begins at 2 p.m. in Room 485 of the Russell Senate Office Building.

Friday

• Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, who meets President Clinton.

• U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who addresses the annual convention of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

• Kemal Kabatas and Ahmet Tan, members of the Turkish Parliament, Cevdet Akcay and Mine Eder, professors at Bosporus University in Istanbul, and Soli Ozel of Bilgi University in Istanbul. They will discuss current economic and political issues in Turkey at a Washington meeting of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association.

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