- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 8, 2005

Spirit of the Elbe

Russian Ambassador Yury Ushakov said his country has “anxiously anticipated” today’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II with President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin attending a parade in Moscow’s Red Square.

Mr. Bush’s visit is both symbolic and substantive, the ambassador said.

“The U.S. president’s trip to our country on this historic occasion reminds us of one of the most glorious chapters in the history of relations between the two nations,” he said.

The celebrations mark the day on April 25, 1945, when American and Soviet troops met at the Elbe River in Germany, linking the western and eastern fronts and sealing the final victory over Adolf Hitler.

“Our wartime alliance is best symbolized by a handshake across the bridge over the Elbe River in Germany of Russian and American soldiers,” Mr. Ushakov said.

“The 60th anniversary of that historic meeting … gives us an opportunity to reflect on the lessons of our common victory. Then we were united by a common understanding that evil can only be resisted if we join our efforts.

“This lesson retains its relevance nowadays as well. We want to keep the spirit of the Elbe alive and working for the good of our two countries and for a strong partnership between Russia and America.”

Mr. Ushakov said the two leaders value the personal relationship they have built over the past four years. Yesterday, Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin held their 13th meeting since Mr. Bush became president, the ambassador said.

The Moscow summit “will give an additional impetus to our growing partnership,” he said.

In Washington today, Mr. Ushakov is scheduled to speak at the opening of an exhibition of wartime photographs by the Associated Press and Russia’s Novosti news agency. The exhibition includes 80 pictures of Russian and American soldiers at the Elbe River. They are on display until Friday in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Leonid V. Burmistrov, deputy director-general of Russia’s Novosti news agency, who speaks at the opening of the Elbe River photo exhibit in the Russell Senate Office Building.

• Li Xingshan, Zhao Zhenhua and Ma Xiaojun of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee Party School, who participate in a forum on energy at the American Enterprise Institute.

• Raoul Blindenbacher, vice president of Canada’s Forum on Federations, who addresses Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Tomorrow

• Former Turkish Foreign Minister Ilter Turkmen and a delegation from the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association: board Chairman Omer Sabanci; Vice Chairmen Pekin Baran and retired Ambassador Cem Duna; and board members Ayca Dinckok, Umit Boyner, Agah Ugur, Ali Kibar and Bulent Akgerman. They attend a conference on Turkey’s preparations to join the European Union.

Wednesday

• Jeremy Greenstock, director of Britain’s Ditchley Foundation and a former British special envoy to Iraq. He addresses the Council on Foreign Relations.

Thursday

• Presidents Abel Pacheco of Costa Rica, Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, Tony Saca of El Salvador, Oscar Berger of Guatemala, Ricardo Maduro of Honduras and Enrique Bolanos of Nicaragua. They meet with President Bush to discuss the Central America Free Trade Agreement.

• Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon of Thailand, who holds a 4 p.m. press conference at the National Press Club.

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

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