- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 5, 2010

ISRAEL BACKS ENVOY

Top Israeli defense officials privately support President Obama’s decision to send a U.S. ambassador to Syria with the hopes that U.S. diplomatic pressure and financial aid will persuade President Bashar Assad to break ties with Iran and Hezbollah terrorists.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak; Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces; and Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, the head of military intelligence, are among those who have urged political leaders to express public support for Robert Ford, the U.S. diplomat whose nomination is being held by Senate Republicans who fear that sending an ambassador to Damascus would reward Syria for its aggressive behavior.

An Israeli defense source, however, told the Jerusalem Post that the U.S. move would put Mr. Assad “on the horns of a dilemma” by forcing him to choose better relations with the West or stronger ties with terrorists.

DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Tuesday

Bernd Rother, vice executive director of the Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation; and Karsten D. Voigt, former coordinator of German-North American Cooperation at the German Federal Foreign Office. They join Marcus Graeser, deputy director of the German Historical Institute in Washington, to address the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Wednesday

Sen. Sergio Abreu of Uruguay; Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission of Latin America; Alfredo Barnechea, a political analyst and writer from Peru; Francisco Carrion, Ecuador’s ambassador to the United Nations; Luiz Felipe Lampreia, former foreign minister of Brazil; Maria Emma Mejia, former foreign minister of Colombia; Carlos Mesa, former president of Bolivia; Guillermo Perry, former finance minister of Colombia; Ana Maria Sanjuan of the Central University of Venezuela; Martin Torrijos, former president of Panama; and Mauricio Vargas, former director of Semana and Cambio magazines of Colombia. They address the 14th annual CAF Conference on the Americas, sponsored by the Andean Development Corp. (with the Spanish acronym CAF), the Inter-American Dialogue and the Organization of American States.

Almami Cyllah, African region director for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, who discusses elections in Rwanda and Burundi in a briefing hosted by the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Selim Jahan of the U.N. Development Program, who addresses the 2010 Millennium Development Goals Summit hosted by the United Nations Foundation at 11 a.m. in Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Benedetta de Alessi of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, who joins a panel discussion on Sudan at the United States Institute of Peace.

Thursday

W. David Sellar, the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland, who addresses the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, D.C., on Scottish heraldry.

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