- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2001

Remember Chernobyl

The Ukrainian ambassador remembered the 15th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster with a sense of sadness and responsibility.

"There is a sense of sadness that the disaster struck and a deep feeling of responsibility for those who suffered in the aftermath," said Ambassador Kostyantyn Gryshchenko. "It also brought a greater understanding of the dangers of nuclear technology."

Chernobyl, the world´s worst nuclear accident, spewed radioactive clouds over most of Europe after the explosion at the station´s fourth reactor on April 26, 1986. Thousands have died since the explosion and millions were affected by exposure to the nuclear fallout.

The entire plant was closed last year, but the resulting power shortage has caused great problems for Ukraine, the ambassador said.

He told Embassy Row he is disappointed that the Group of Seven countries and the European Union have been slow in meeting their 1995 commitment to build two modern nuclear reactors.

Ukraine relies mostly on nuclear power with hydrogenerated electricity providing supplemental power. But the country cannot supply enough power without the new plants.

"We need more capacity," the ambassador said. "We need the completion of the package."

Mr. Gryshchenko said he appreciated President Bush´s remarks on the Chernobyl anniversary.

"Today´s anniversary is an occasion for the global community to pause and reflect on the lessons provided by this disaster, to recall the valor and dignity that the people of Ukraine displayed in the face of adversity and to acknowledge the suffering that many victims of Chernobyl continue to endure throughout the region," Mr. Bush said.

Batch of ambassadors

President Bush has selected several political supporters in his latest announcement of ambassadorial nominations.

Mr. Bush picked George L. Argyros, a millionaire developer, to be ambassador to Spain. Mr. Argyros, a former owner of the Seattle Mariners baseball team, was chairman of Victory 2000 in California, a project to register Republican voters and get them to the polls.

Mr. Argyros, currently chief executive of the California-based Arnel & Affiliates investment company, is chairman of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation.

"George Argyros is a leader in his community who has been active in numerous civic, cultural and philanthropic organizations. His experience in trade policy and foreign affairs, as well as his interest in education and the arts, will make him an excellent ambassador to Spain," Mr. Bush said.

He selected Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, who served on his national finance campaign committee, to serve as ambassador to Finland. She is founder and president of Pace Communications of North Carolina, which the White House described as the "largest custom publishing company in America."

Mr. Bush said, "Bonnie McElveen-Hunter is a trailblazer among female entrepreneurs."

She is a member of the international board of directors for Habitat for Humanity and a board member of the United Way.

Mr. Bush named Charles J. Swindells, managing director of the U.S. Trust Co. of Portland, Ore., to be ambassador to New Zealand. Mr. Swindells was co-chairman of Mr. Bush´s Oregon campaign finance committee.

"As a leader in the financial services industry and a well-respected community leader from the Pacific Northwest, Butch Swindells will be an asset to the fine relationship between the United States and New Zealand," Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Bush also named Stuart Bernstein, chairman of the Bernstein Companies of Washington, to be ambassador to Denmark.

He was a commissioner for the International Cultural and Trade Center Commission under Mr. Bush´s father and is currently a board member of the Anti-Defamation League.

Israeli visit

Israeli President Moshe Katsav will pay a working visit to Washington on May 30 to meet President Bush.

"The United States and Israel enjoy a close, long-standing relationship that reflects the deep friendship between the American and Israeli people," the White House said.

" looks forward to discussing bilateral and regional issues with President Katsav."

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