- The Washington Times - Monday, September 4, 2000

Millennium hopes

Roble Olhaye arrived in New York on Friday after two months in his native Djibouti helping arrange a political settlement to Somalia's long nightmare of civil war.

Still jet-lagged, he launched into overseeing the final arrangements for the arrival of his president for this week's three-day Millennium Summit at the United Nations, beginning Wednesday.

Mr. Olhaye serves both as his country's ambassador to the United States and United Nations.

In Washington, the envoy from the tiny country in the Horn of Africa is also the second-most-senior ambassador and dean of the African diplomatic corps.

He has high hopes for showcasing Africa's problems at the U.N. summit.

"This Millennium Summit is the brainchild of the secretary-general, who happens to be an African," Mr. Olhaye said, referring to Kofi Annan of Ghana.

"He has persuaded the international community not to turn their eyes away from countries that have been plagued by violence and chaos," Mr. Olhaye said.

African leaders will be emphasizing the need for development aid and programs to fight poverty, he added.

Many Washington-based ambassadors will be traveling to New York, but few have the double duty that Mr. Olhaye has.

Most ambassadors are relying on their U.N. counterparts to make the arrangements, from hotel reservations to airport accommodations for presidential planes.

This will be the United Nations' biggest gathering of world leaders.

"This is a good opportunity for every country to contribute to the United Nations as a world body," said Costa Rican Ambassador Jaime Daremblum.

He said Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodriguez, who will address the summit on Friday, will promote the need for governments to spend more on education.

Brazilian Ambassador Rubens A. Barbosa said the summit will promote U.N. goals for the 21st century.

"It is a symbolic effort to strengthen the U.N. system," he said.

Richard Wyatt, the charge d'affaires at the European Union mission to the United Nations, agreed that the summit is designed to set "a general sense of direction rather than precise measures."

"The world is becoming more interdependent. Peacekeeping requires more and more attention at the global level," he added.

The EU has a special interest in seeing U.N. reforms in the new millennium.

"The EU actively supports the U.N. We pay 36 percent of the budget and represent 5 percent of the world's population," he said.

Macedonian Ambassador Lubica Z. Acevska said the summit will give her country a chance to showcase its success in developing a democracy and avoiding the conflicts that engulfed other areas of the Balkans.

"Macedonia has become a success story," she said.

"The summit is a great idea to bring together the world leaders to a forum on making this millennium one of peace," she said.

"It will be a wonderful opportunity for everyone there."

For Miss Acevska this will be one of her last official duties, as she prepares to finish her diplomatic tour this month.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping, who will be in Washington through Thursday.

Tomorrow

• Costa Rican President Angel Rodriguez, who will receive an honorary degree from George Washington University.

Wednesday

• Dumitru Diacov, president of the parliament of Moldova. He addresses invited guests at a forum on democratic reforms in Moldova, hosted by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Thursday

• Michalis Chrysochoidis, Greece's minister of public order. He meets with Attorney General Janet Reno on Friday to sign a memorandum on combating crime. He also has meetings with officials at the State Department, FBI and CIA.

Friday

• Michel Rocard, former premier of France and now co-chairman of the Eminent Persons Group on banning small arms. Mr. Rocard, also a member of the European Parliament, meets with U.S. officials to emphasize Europe's objections to a U.S. missile defense.

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