- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2000

Scolding Hungary

The U.S. ambassador to Hungary is growing impatient with the government's attempts to control the media.
Ambassador Peter Tufo, in strong diplomatic language, is warning Prime Minister Viktor Orban that he risks damaging Hungary's reputation with his new state media supervisory board made up entirely of government appointees.
Critics fear the board will censor opposition criticism of the conservative government.
"It is very important" that Hungary maintains its reputation as "a multiparty democracy that respects the freedom of the press in a region where intolerance has been expressed all too loudly," Mr. Tufo told the Hungarian daily Magyar Hirlap Friday.
"It is important that people hear all opinions and make up their own minds. It is not necessary that the government does this job."
Mr. Tufo's warning is the second from the West last week.
Michael Lake, the European Commission's representative to Hungary, warned that Mr. Orban's attempt to control the press could damage Hungary's efforts to join the European Union.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


* Korean Foreign Minister Lee Joung Benn, who meets Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.

* Hanan Mikhail-Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. She addresses the American Committee on Jerusalem on the current state of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

* Ricardo Zapata, economic affairs coordinator of the Mexico City-based U.N. Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean. He will attend a conference on reconstruction and development in Venezuela, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Hilton Embassy Row hotel. Venezuelan Ambassador Alfredo Toro Hardy will also speak on efforts to repair the billions of dollars of damage caused by floods in December.


* Hungarian Education Minister Zoltan Pokorni, who meets Education Secretary Richard W. Riley.

* Euan Magee, brother of slain Ulster defense attorney Rosemary Nelson; Geraldine Finucane, widow of slain Ulster defense attorney Patrick Finucane; Paul Mageean of the Committee on the Administration of Justice in Belfast; and Jane Winter, director of the British Irish Rights Watch. They will testify at a meeting of the congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe at 10 a.m. in Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

* Eva-Ritta Sittonen, lord mayor of Helsinki, who holds a 9 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club.


* Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who meets President Clinton to discuss the breakdown in Northern Ireland peace talks.

* Ukraine Prime Minister Victor A. Yuschenko. He attends a reception hosted by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry and the Jewish Conference of Ukraine.

* Monica McWilliams, a member of Northern Ireland's Woman's Coalition Party. She holds a news conference at 9 a.m. at the National Press Club.

* Kamol Dusmetov, vice chairman of Uzbekistan's National Drug Control Commission, and Sergei Bozhko, director of the U.N. Drug Control Program for Central Asia. They will join Kyrgyzstan Ambassador Bakyt Abdrisaev and Tajikistan Ambassador Rashid Alimov at Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies for a panel discussion on illegal drugs in Central Asia.


* Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, political arm of the Irish Republican Army. He meets members of Congress to discuss the breakdown of the Northern Ireland accord. Mr. Adams will be joined Friday by his deputy, Martin McGuinness. They will attend the White House St. Patrick's Day Party.


* David Trimble, leader of Northern Ireland's Ulster Unionist Party. He holds a 9 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club.

* David Makovsky, former editor of the Jerusalem Post, who discusses the Middle East peace process with guests of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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