- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2001

Craner considered

The president of the International Republican Institute is expected to be appointed to the post of assistant secretary of state for human rights and democracy.

Capitol Hill sources say congressional offices were informed last week that Lorne Craner will be given the position. An announcement could come as early as today, one congressional aide said.

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Mr. Craner, who has served at the State Department and the National Security Council, was a legislative aide to Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, in the 1980s.

Mr. Craner's late father, Air Force Col. Robert Craner, was a prisoner of war in Vietnam with Mr. McCain.

Farish to London

President Bush has chosen an old family friend to be the next ambassador to Britain, the White House said yesterday.

William S. Farish III, a Texas investment banker who raises racehorses at his farm in Kentucky, is also a friend of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. Mr. Farish and the queen share an interest in horses, and she has stayed several times at his Kentucky farm.

Mr. Farish, 62, is also chairman of Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby is run.

He will "need no introduction when arriving at Buckingham Palace to present his credentials," London's Daily Telegraph said last month when rumors of the appointment first surfaced. Embassy Row reported Feb. 15 that he was the leading candidate for the post.

Mr. Farish, whose family made a fortune in the Texas oil business, has been a friend of Mr. Bush's father for nearly 50 years. He managed the former president's blind trust during his White House years and has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Republican Party.

He will replace Philip Lader, who was a friend of former President Bill Clinton's and a generous contributor to the Democratic Party.

Mr. Farish, whose thoroughbred horses are considered among the finest in the world, bred Charismatic, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 1999.

Lithuania's new envoy

Lithuania has sent a former deputy foreign minister to serve as its new ambassador to the United States.

Vygaudas Usackas arrived yesterday to take up his position, replacing Stays Sakalauskas, who ended his 3 and 1/2-year posting last week.

Mr. Usackas, a career diplomat, also served as Lithuania's chief negotiator for membership in the European Union until the end of last year.

Among his first duties in Washington will be to prepare for this week's visit of Alvydas Medalinskas, chairman of the parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, and Gidrius Cekuolis, the current deputy foreign minister who also serves as coordinator for Lithuania's efforts to join NATO.

Membership in the European Union and NATO are among Lithuania's top foreign policy goals.

Mr. Sakalauskas, in his farewell remarks last week, emphasized the importance that Lithuania places on U.S. support for its membership in NATO.

"Gaining the support of the U.S. for Lithuania's membership in NATO has always been a major task and challenge for Lithuanian diplomacy," he said.

"I am glad to leave Washington knowing that President Bush, who has promised to work with the allies in Europe to render support for our efforts to join the alliance, will continue the active policy regarding Lithuania and strengthen and deepen the relationship between our two countries even further."

Message to Arafat

The U.S. ambassador to Israel has demanded that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat curb "terrorism and violence" after a bomb attack in the Israeli resort town of Netanya on Sunday.

"I want to, on behalf of the U.S. government, condemn in the strongest possible terms this latest terrorist outrage," Ambassador Martin Indyk told reporters after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon over the weekend.

"It is absolutely essential that steps be taken by the Palestinian Authority and Chairman Arafat to resume the security coordination, to curb the terrorism and the violence and the incitement," he added.

The attack killed four persons, including the suspected bomber.

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