- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 17, 2005

Expelled from Ethiopia

Sen. John McCain and former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright have complained about Ethiopia’s unprecedented expulsion of U.S. election specialists who were in the African country to help it prepare for general elections next month.

The Arizona Republican and the former Clinton administration official expressed “concern and dismay” in a letter last week to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who recently ordered representatives of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs,theInternational Republican Instituteand theInternational Foundation for Election Systemsto leave the country.

“In over 20 years of working around the world, until now, no government has expelled NDI, IRI and IFES,” said Mr. McCain, chairman of the IRI, and Mrs. Albright, chairwoman of the NDI.

“We are particularly perplexed by these expulsions at a time when your government has stated its intention to organize an open and democratic election process. This action will only raise questions about the credibility and transparency of these elections.”

They said the U.S. specialists were working with Ethiopia’s election commission to encourage “dialogue among political parties and election authorities as a means of enhancing confidence and participation in the electoral process, political party poll watching and the creation of a code of conduct for the elections.”

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Sri Lankan Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama, who meets administration officials to discuss the status of tsunami relief.

• Joaquin Almunia, European Union commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, and Servaas Deroose of the European Commission’s bureau of economic and financial affairs. They will address the European Institute on economic issues in Europe and on U.S.-European economic cooperation.

• Tim Besley of the London School of Economics and Alejandro Foxley, former finance minister of Chile. They will release a World Bank study titled “Economic Growth in the 1990s: Learning from a Decade of Reform.”

• Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, former finance minister and deputy prime minister of Malaysia, who addresses the Asia Society Washington Center on U.S.-Muslim relations.

Tomorrow

• President Marc Ravalomanana of Madagascar, who addresses the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies about his country’s efforts to reduce poverty through economic growth.

• Princess Mathilde of Belgium, who speaks at a Georgetown University conference on efforts to reduce poverty through micro-credits.

Wednesday

• Jordanian Finance Minister Bassem I. Awadallah, who addresses invited guests at the Washington Institute.

• Markos Kyprianou, European Union commissioner for health and consumer protection, who holds a 10:30 a.m. press conference at the EU offices at 2300 M St. NW.

• Samar Fatany of Radio Jeddah, a part of the Saudi Ministry of Information, who addresses invited guests at the Brookings Institution on news reporting in Saudi Arabia.

• Ylber Hysa, a member of the Kosovo Assembly, and Dusan Svetolik Janjic of the University of Belgrade at Serbia. They participate in a panel discussion on ethnic reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia with invited guests at the Voice of America.

• Yegor Gaidar, former prime minister of Russia, who discusses the Russian economy with invited guests at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

Thursday

• Edna Maria Santos Roland, one of Brazil’s top human rights advocates and a former United Nations specialist at the 2001 world conference on racism held in South Africa. She addresses invited guests at the Inter-American Dialogue.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.

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