- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 3, 2006

Spring in its step’

Scottish diplomat Michael Kellet said Scots “regained their voice, regained their land” seven years ago when Scotland’s Parliament reconvened after 300 years.

As they prepared for their third parliamentary elections next year in May, Scotland “is a country with a spring in its step,” he told guests at a British Embassy reception last week for St. Andrew’s Day, which celebrates Scotland’s patron saint.

Mr. Kellet, the first secretary for Scottish affairs, over the weekend continued promoting his nation of 5 million citizens, which has had historically a massive influence on international affairs. In the United States, nearly half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence had Scottish heritage. Two were Scots. About 75 percent of American presidents have had Scottish ancestors.

In Alexandria on Saturday, Mr. Kellet marched in the 36th annual Scottish Christmas Walk, as thousands of cheering spectators crowded the streets of Old Town.

Later at a seminar for National Tartan Day, Mr. Kellet noted that Alexandria was acquired by John Alexander, for whom it is named, in the mid-17th century for “6,000 pounds — not pounds sterling, but pounds of tobacco.”

The Scottish Parliament was reopened in 1999 as part of a program by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to decentralize the national government based in London. The parliament’s powers most closely resembles those of a U.S. state government. It has control over some domestic issues but not foreign affairs.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine, who addresses the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Sayyed Abdul Aziz Alhakim, president of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and the leader of the United Iraqi Alliance. He addresses the U.S. Institute of Peace. Tomorrow, he speaks at the John Paul II Cultural Center.

c President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, who addresses the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, in a 5:15 p.m. lecture open to the public. On Wednesday, he meets with President Bush.

• A delegation from the European Parliament composed of: Jonathan Evans of Britain, chairman of the delegation; Giles Chichester of Britain, chairman of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy; Enrique Baron Crespo of Spain, chairman of the Committee on International Trade; Petr Duchon of the Czech Republic; James Elles of Britain; Anneli Jaatteenmaki, former prime minister of Finland; Bogdan Klich of Poland; Stavros Lambridis of Greece; Erika Mann of Germany; and James Nicholson of Britain. They meet members of Congress to discuss trans-Atlantic relations after the congressional elections.

Wednesday

• Gerald Howarth, a member of the British Parliament; Lt. Gen. Carmine Pollice of the Italian Defense Ministry; and Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, chairman and chief executive officer, and Alberto De Benedictis, senior vice president, of the Rome-based Finmeccanica aerospace and defense company. They participate in a forum about U.S. defense procurement at the Hudson Institute.

• Mehriban Aliyeva, first lady and national assembly member in Azerbaijan. She attends a reception in her honor hosted by the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday

Silvio Thiede, general director of Germany’s HeidelbergCement AG; Sen. Lyudmila Narusova of the Russian parliament; President Khazret Sovmen of the Republic of Adyghea; Govs. Vladimir Kulakov of the Voronezh region and Vasily Bochkarev of the Penza region in Russia; and Evgeny Samoylov, chief executive officer of the Russian Union of Oil Exporters. They hold a 1 p.m. press conference at the National Press Club to discuss investment in Russia.

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

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