- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2000

Chretien in Paris

Raymond Chretien, Canada's former ambassador here, has taken up his new post as Canadian ambassador to France, bringing with him warm memories of his last 6* years in Washington.

In a farewell letter to friends and associates, he wrote: "My wife, Kay, and I depart with mixed feelings. Both of us have loved Washington where we have been welcomed with such warmth."

Mr. Chretien praised the strong U.S.-Canadian bonds as the strongest relationship between any two countries in the world.

"Relations have never been better, in my view," he said. "Two-way trade between our two countries now amounts to more than $1 billion a day and is virtually irritant-free.

"No two countries in the world work as closely and well together in pursuing global peace and prosperity."

Canadian news reports have said Mr. Chretien was transferred to Paris in order to help neutralize any French support for independence for Canada's French-speaking province, Quebec. Mr. Chretien is a French-Canadian and nephew of Premier Jean Chretien.

Mr. Chretien's replacement, Michael Kergin, brings his own special attributes to the United States. He speaks fluent Spanish and is a former ambassador to Cuba.

Mr. Kergin, who also served as ambassador to Cameroon, previously served as a foreign policy adviser to the premier.

This will be his second diplomatic tour of duty in Washington, where he was deputy chief of mission from 1989 to 1994.

Worried about Albania

The U.S. ambassador to Albania is worried that fiery political accusations could incite violence before local elections on Oct. 1.

Ambassador Joseph Limprecht told a parliamentary committee last week that Albania has an historic opportunity to hold a free, fair and peaceful election in a country that was rocked by anarchy only three years ago.

"It is unacceptable for political parties or leaders to create an atmosphere that might put at risk the work of the OSCE or other monitoring organizations," said Mr. Limprecht, referring to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Mr. Limprecht urged Albanians to register to vote, now that the government has extended the voter registration deadline. The political opposition had accused the government of trying to control the voters role with a short registration period.

Three years ago, Albania fell into anarchy with the collapse of pyramid investment schemes that cost investors more than $1.2 billion. Rioting broke out across the country, gangsters flourished and looters stole more than 1 million guns. About half of them remain in private hands, according to news reports.

The crisis led to snap elections in which the Socialist Party ousted President Sali Berisha and his Democratic Party.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


• Russian media mogul Boris Berezovsky, who holds a noon news conference at the National Press Club to discuss "Russia at the Crossroads." He addresses invited guests at the Freedom Forum tomorrow.

• Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who addresses invited guests at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies about the prospects for peace in the Middle East.


• Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato.

• Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who is on a private visit.

• Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, who addresses invited guests of the Inter-American Development Bank on culture, freedom and globalization.


• Ruth de Krivoy, former president of the Venezuelan Central Bank, who meets invited guests of the Inter-American Dialogue. She will discuss her book, "Collapse," about the country's 1994 banking crisis that left most Venezuelan financial institutions bankrupt.


• Prime Minister Rosie Douglas of Dominica, who will speak on "Caribbean development options in a globalized world" at Georgetown University's Leavey Conference Center at 6 p.m. For reservations call 202/687-4328.

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