- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 13, 2007

Off to Baghdad

The U.S. ambassador to Greece is getting a new assignment as the supervisor of American economic aid to Iraq.

Ambassador Charles Ries, a former top diplomat for economic affairs at the U.S. Embassy in London, is expected to leave Athens in mid-June.

Secretary of State [Condoleezza] Rice personally asked the ambassador to go to Baghdad to be in charge of U.S. economic assistance to Iraq,” an embassy spokesman told reporters in Greece.

Mr. Ries is also a former principal deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Tom Countryman, the deputy chief of mission in Athens, will serve as charge d’affaires until a new ambassador to Greece is appointed.

Flak fashion

Ambassador Charles Ries can probably leave his dinner jacket in Greece. There is a different fashion for American diplomats in Iraq.

The U.S. Embassy has told all its staff to wear flak jackets and helmets outside the diplomatic compound, even within the fortified Green Zone, which now comes under frequent mortar attack.

A written order requires the diplomats to wear the “personal protective equipment” outside protected buildings and when walking a “substantial distance” from the embassy, the Associated Press reported.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Konstantin Pulikovsky, director of the Russian Federal Service for the Oversight of the Environment, Technology and Nuclear Management. He holds a 3 p.m. press conference at the Washington bureau of the RIA Novosti, the Russian press agency.

• A delegation from the Russian legislature with: Nikita Belykh, chairman of the Union of Right Forces; Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the International Relations Committee of the Duma; Sergei Markov, deputy chairman of the International Relations Committee of the Public Chamber; and Sergei Rogov, director of the Institute of the USA and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences. They participate in the 26th annual World Russian Forum.

c A Palestinian delegation with: Maen Areikat, director-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Negotiations Affairs Department; Issa Kassissieh, a senior presidential policy adviser; and Zeinah Salahi, a legal adviser. They address the Middle East Institute.

• A delegation from Taiwan with: Yi-Ting Hsiao and Clementine Lee of the International Affairs Department of the Democratic Progressive Party; Cheng-Han Hsu of the Kuomintang Party; Chiao Min Huang of the Taiwan Foreign Ministry; Hsiao Wei Huang of the Taiwan Solidarity Union; and Chen-Yi Yeh, a foreign policy analyst with the Taiwan Thinktank.They hold meetings with members of Congress, the Federal Election Commission and others.

• Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih of Iraq, who addresses the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Tomorrow

• Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden, who meets President Bush.

Wednesday

• Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, who joins President Bush at a White House ceremony. They hold an 11:25 a.m. press conference on Thursday.

• J. Soedradjad Djiwandono, former governor of the Bank of Indonesia and now an economics professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore; Worapot Manupipatpong, principal economist and director of the secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and Robert Wade, a professor of political economy at the London School of Economics. They participate in a forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Thursday

• Thomas Enders, the German CEO of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., who addresses the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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

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