- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2001

Ugandan leadership
Ugandan Ambassador Edith Ssempala is proud that the World Bank has given high recognition to her countrys efforts to improve its economy and fight AIDS.
"Its the result of management, democratic development and leadership as a whole," she told Embassy Row.
Uganda remains a poor country of 22 million with a per capita annual income of about $300, but that is a vast improvement over the last decade. The government has cut the poverty rate to 35 percent from 56 percent in the early 1990s and increased the pace of privatization of state-owned industry. The economy grew by 5 percent last year.
The World Bank called it a "successful reformer" in its new report on aid and reform in Africa. The State Department, however, still criticizes Uganda for human rights abuses and restrictions on political activity.
Ugandas success in fighting AIDS may be the best news, Mrs. Ssempala said. The infection rate has been cut in half from about 14 percent of the population in the early 1990s.
President Yoweri Museveni confronted the disease rather than ignoring it, like leaders of many other African nations, the ambassador said.
"Africans are shy about discussing sex," Mrs. Ssempala said.
"As soon as (Mr. Museveni) learned the disease was incurable and sexually transmitted, he acted," she said of AIDS education campaigns that included testing and prevention. "The only way to deal with it was to be open about it and teach people how to avoid it.
"For us it was a choice of saving our lives or being shy."

Playing ball

President Bush has turned to an old buddy from his baseball days, and a Democrat to boot, as his the next ambassador to Australia.
Tom Schieffer was president of the Texas Rangers when Mr. Bush was a part owner of the ball club.
Although the appointment has not yet been announced, the Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram reported last week that Mr. Bush has settled on Mr. Schieffer.
Mr. Schieffer, a Dallas lawyer, refused to comment but told the newspaper he has spoken with the president. "I have talked to him from time to time and hes the one who will have to tell you what we talked about," he said.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
Today

* Jan Kavan, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of the Czech Republic. He meets Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Tomorrow he meets Rep. Henry J. Hyde, Illinois Republican and chairman of the House International Relations Committee, and Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, Maryland Democrat and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
* Sukru Sina Gurel, Turkeys minister of state for Cyprus affairs, relations with the European Union and Turkish citizens abroad.
Tomorrow

* Malegapuru William Makgoba, president of the Medical Research Council of South Africa. He addresses the National Institutes of Health on the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
Thursday

* Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who meets Secretary of State Colin Powell. He holds a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Russian Embassy.
* Omar Khanbiev, health minister of Chechnya, who discusses the war in the Russian republic with invited guests at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
* Aharon Layish of Jerusalems Hebrew University, who addresses invited guests at the Middle East Institute on Islamic law in the modern world.
* Pedro Cerisola, Mexicos secretary of communications and transportation, who discusses the North American Free Trade Agreement at the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.
* Jose Ramos Horta, the Nobel Peace Prize winner from East Timor, who addresses the World Sindhi Institute.
* Franz Fischler, the European Union commissioner for agriculture, rural development and fisheries. He holds a 9 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club. Mr. Fischler addresses the European Institute on Friday.
Friday

* Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico, and Raul Munoz, general director of PEMEX, the Mexican state-owned oil company. They address the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.


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