- The Washington Times - Monday, March 26, 2001

'Sagacious choice'

President Bush's selection of Harvard professor Robert Blackwill to be ambassador to India drew a positive reaction in India.
Reflecting widespread media coverage, the Times of India called it a "sagacious choice," while the Hindu newspaper called it a "significant development."
All newspapers noted that Mr. Blackwill will likely be opposed by conservative Republicans who suspect he is too soft on Chinese issues, especially given his scholastic contacts with senior Chinese military personnel who have attended his courses at Harvard. He teaches a program in international security that is open to Russian and Chinese officials.
Mr. Blackwill, a retired Foreign Service officer, served as ambassador and chief negotiator with the Warsaw Pact on conventional forces in Europe under former President Bush. He was also a special assistant for European and Soviet affairs in the first Bush administration.
However, his academic credentials and his views on India as a major regional power are the issues that most impressed the Indian press.
"In opting for Blackwill, the administration's policy wonks have apparently made a sagacious choice," the Times of India said.
"He will be one of those ambassadors in New Delhi who would probably revel in the cut and thrust of policy debates … at the India International Center" and other Indian think tanks, the paper added.
The newspaper India Abroad noted that Mr. Blackwill helped draft Mr. Bush's "campaign platform last year which called for India to be recognized as the regional power it is."
Mr. Bush, in announcing his choice last week, said, "Bob Blackwill understands the important place India holds in my foreign policy agenda and will be an outstanding American ambassador to India."

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
Today
French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine.
Bulgarian Defense Minister Boiko Noev, who addresses the Heritage Foundation.
Heraldo Munoz, deputy foreign minister of Chile, who addresses of the Organization of American States.
Kemal Dervis, Turkey's minister of state for economic affairs, who meets Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill. He holds a 10 a.m. news conference at the Turkish Embassy tomorrow.
Kaoru Yosano, Japan's former minister of trade and industry, who addresses a conference on the Japanese economy at Johns Hopkins University.
Ziad Abu-Zayyad, minister of state for Jerusalem affairs of the Palestinian National Authority. He addresses invited guests of the Middle East Institute and the Foundation for Middle East Peace.

Tomorrow
King Juan Carlos of Spain, who meets President Bush on Wednesday. He also receives the International Democracy Medal from the Center for Democracy.
Chechen Foreign Minister Ilyas Akhmadov, who addresses invited guests at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Wednesday
Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, who meets Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. He holds a 9 a.m. news conference Friday at the National Press Club.

Thursday
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Talib Yakubov, general secretary of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan. He discusses "Repression and Human Rights in Uzbekistan" with invited guests of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Friday
Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem.
Amiram Goldblum, founder of the Israeli Peace Now movement's Settlers Watch Committee. He speaks at a forum sponsored by Americans for Peace Now and the Foundation for Middle East Peace at 10 a.m. in room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission, and Armin Laschet and Alain Lamassoure, members of the European Parliament. They participate in a forum on the future of the European Union at Johns Hopkins University.


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