- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AMBASSADOR ROONEY

President Obama capped St. Patrick’s Day by nominating Dan Rooney, owner of the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, to serve as ambassador to Ireland, one of the plum foreign diplomatic posts.

Embassy Row reported Jan. 30 that Mr. Rooney, 76, was the leading candidate for the appointment, which requires Senate confirmation.

“I am honored and grateful that such a dedicated and accomplished individual has agreed to serve as the representative of the United States to the Irish people,” Mr. Obama said, as he announced the nomination.

“Dan Rooney is an unwavering supporter of Irish peace, culture and education.”

Mr. Rooney, a lifelong Republican, endorsed Mr. Obama in the Democratic presidential primary in Pennsylvania and campaigned for him in the general election.

In January, Mr. Rooney hinted to the Irish Times newspaper that he was under consideration for the appointment.

“I have the credentials. There’s no doubt about that,” he said.

Mr. Obama on Tuesday also greeted Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, who delivered the traditional bowl of shamrocks to the White House. Later, the president met with Peter Robinson, the first minister of Northern Ireland, and Martin McGuinness, the deputy first minister.

UKRAINE SHAKE-UP

The president of Ukraine on Tuesday nominated the country’s ambassador to the United States to serve as foreign minister, after parliament dismissed the previous foreign minister in a dispute over relations with the West.

President Viktor Yushchenko selected Ambassador Oleh Shamshur, a career diplomat, to replace Volodymyr Ogryzko as part of a wider Cabinet shake-up many Ukrainian observers expect soon.

Parliament fired Mr. Ogryzko after reports that he privately sent letters to Ukrainian diplomats that were critical of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The dispute centers on disagreements between members of parliament and the president over the pace of integration with the West and relations with Russia, which regularly threatens Ukraine with a cutoff of energy supplies.

Mr. Yushchenko favors Ukrainian membership in NATO, while his political opposition fears he is moving the country too quickly toward the West and ignoring Moscow’s concerns about NATO expansion to Russia’s border.

Mr. Shamshur, 53, has been ambassador in Washington since December 2005. He served earlier as deputy foreign minister and director of the European Union office of the Foreign Ministry.

DEATH OF A DIPLOMAT

A former British ambassador to the United States who secured Washington’s support for the British invasion of the Falkland Islands died Monday in his sleep. He was 89.

Nicholas Henderson won President Reagan’s endorsement of the 1982 invasion launched by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to protect British subjects from an assault by a military-led government in Argentina, which also claimed the islands off the southern coast of South America.

His daughter, Alexandra Drogheda, told reporters in London that her father’s close relationships with Mr. Reagan, his wife, Nancy, and Secretary of State Alexander Haig were crucial in winning White House support for the liberation of the Falklands.

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

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