- The Washington Times - Monday, September 29, 2008

NO SELLOUT

The United States will not sell out countries like Georgia, Poland and the Czech Republic, as Russia tries to pressure them into submitting to Moscow’s demands, according to the U.S. envoy to NATO.

Ambassador Kurt Volker also defended the Bush administration’s response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia and suggested that the Kremlin’s real reason for opposing an anti-missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland is that those two nations are acting too independently of Moscow.

Addressing reporters on a visit to Berlin on Friday, Mr. Volker denied that the United States is trying to provoke Moscow.

“I believe in Europe, there’s often a perception that the U.S. is looking for some sort of confrontation with Russia,” he said. “That is not right.”

He also dismissed Moscow’s claims that the defensive missiles in Poland and a missile-defense radar system in the Czech Republic pose a threat to Russia.

“We’ve been completely transparent,” he said, again noting that the missile-defense in Poland and the Czech Republic is designed to shoot down missiles launched against Europe from the Middle East, especially Iran.

Russia claims otherwise and has threatened to deploy missiles designed to defeat the missile defense. It has also tested several missiles recently that are designed for that purpose.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Monday

President Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania, who meets with President Bush.

Prime Minister Orette Bruce Golding of Jamaica, who meets officials from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank on his four-day visit, which also includes talks with Rep. Eliot L. Engel, New York Democrat and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Western Hemisphere affairs. He holds a 3 p.m. press conference Tuesday at the Jamaican Embassy.

Foreign Minister Kinga Goncz of Hungary, who meets with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and presents her with the Commander’s Cross with the Star of the Order of Merit. Mrs. Goncz also meets with Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, and with presidential campaign advisers to Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat.

Tuesday

Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a member of the European Parliament from Germany’s Free Democratic Party. He addresses the Friedrich Naumann Foundation about Russia’s tense relations with its neighbors.

Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition leader in Georgia and a former presidential candidate. He addresses the Hudson Institute on Georgian-Russian relations and other issues.

Wednesday

Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin of Kazakhstan, who meets with Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley and World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick. He discusses Kazakhstan’s preparations to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in an address at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and launches a book written by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev at a reception hosted by the Asia Society.

Ambassador Mihaly Bayer, Hungary’s envoy to the European Union’s Nabucco pipeline project, who holds a 3 p.m. news conference at the National Press Club.

Lothar Probst, president of Germany’s Institute for Intercultural and International Studies at the University of Bremen. He addresses the Heinrich Boll Foundation on political developments in Germany.

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