- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2001

The lobbyist lion
Edward J. von Kloberg cast a regal figure — despite a bandage near his left ear, a shaving wound — as an exiled African king touched him on each shoulder with a sword that had belonged to the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.
Mr. von Kloberg received a sash and a medal, which meant more than many other items in his vast collection of prizes and gifts collected over more than 20 years as an international lobbyist.
The award was from King Kigeli V, the ousted monarch of Rwanda, the Central African nation whose name has come to symbolize genocide. In 1994, more than 1 million Tutsis were massacred by Hutu militias as the world turned its back to the terror.
As he invested Mr. von Kloberg with the crimson and purple sash and the chevalier Grand Cross of the Order of the Lion this week, the king praised the lobbyist as a "great friend of Africa."
"[He is] the one who understands our cultures, our heritage, our problems, our achievements, our progress, our distress — the one who cares and who acts to achieve better understanding of Africa in the complicated world of American politics," the king said.
Mr. von Kloberg said he was "humbled" by the honor.
King Kigeli was overthrown 40 years ago, but he has "fought tirelessly for a restoration of peace in his troubled land, delivering a message of hope and commitment to the highest corridors of power," Mr. von Kloberg said.
"The king has never lost sight of his responsibility for his land and his people."
The reception at Mr. von Klobergs penthouse apartment in Northwest Washington was not solely a somber affair. It was an evening mixed with diplomats, ambassadors and politicians, trading cocktail gossip of the power shift in the Senate and the prospects for the 2002 congressional races.
One guest who might be in one of the races was Fred DuVal, a former deputy chief of the State Departments Office of Protocol.
While it is still unofficial, Mr. DuVal is expected to return to his home state of Arizona to run as a Democrat for Congress. Mr. DuVal declined to say whether he is, indeed, a candidate, but it seemed to be an open secret at the party.
Sven Alkalaj, Bosnias former ambassador to the United States, praised Mr. DuVal for his help when Bosnia was engulfed in civil war in the mid-1990s.
"I wish all Bosnians could vote for him," said Mr. Alkalaj, now Bosnias ambassador to the Organization of American States.
Former Swedish Ambassador Henrick Liljegren and former Austrian Ambassador Helmut Tuerk sent congratulations to Mr. DuVal.
Mr. von Kloberg noted that Mr. DuVal, like many who come to Washington, "arrived with the idealistic notion that what we do here really matters."
While many become cynical, Mr. DuVals "idealism still burns brightly," Mr. von Kloberg said.
Mr. DuVal, a self-described moderate, said serving in the House would be a "wonderful opportunity to reach across the divide."
Referring to himself as a "potential" candidate, he recalled the story of a small-town politician from Calhoun County, Ga., who rode with Teddy Roosevelts Rough Riders at San Juan Hill. Roosevelt said to his comrade, "The first one of us who reaches the top of that hill will become president."
"You go right ahead, Mr. Roosevelt," the man replied. "All I want to be is sheriff of Calhoun County."
"As I leave Washington, all I want to be is a congressman from my beloved state of Arizona — maybe," Mr. DuVal said.

Diplomatic pollution
The U.S. ambassador to Ecuador, complaining about pollution in the Andean nations capital, has resigned for health reasons, the U.S. Embassy said this week.
Gwen Clare, ambassador there since August 1999, said the pollution in Quito affects her asthma.
"She needed to get somewhere where the pollution wouldnt aggravate her asthma," an embassy spokesman told the Reuters news agency.
Larry Palmer, the deputy chief of mission, will serve as charge daffaires until she is replaced. The ambassador has joined the Carter Center in Atlanta as diplomat-in-residence.
An Equador official, who asked not to be identified, suggested her problem had more to do with the thin air than with pollution. Quito is more than 9,000 feet above sea level.


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