- The Washington Times - Friday, July 19, 2002

Next British ambassador

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to appoint his foreign policy adviser as the next British ambassador to the United States, according to reports from London.

David Manning, 52, emerged this week as the leading contender because of his loyalty to Mr. Blair and his good contacts with U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, the London Daily Telegraph reported.

"It's been an extremely important relationship," the Telegraph quoted one senior diplomat as saying, "and he's played it perfectly."

"Senior sources in Washington and London said only a totally unforeseen change of mind by Mr. Blair would alter" his decision to appoint Mr. Manning, the Telegraph said.

Mr. Manning would replace Christopher Meyer, who is due to leave Washington in the spring to assume the chairmanship of Britain's Press Complaints Commission, an independent media-watchdog group.

Mr. Manning is a former British ambassador to Israel and to NATO. He is also a Russia specialist.

Other names mentioned as contenders for the Washington assignment are: Jeremy Greenstock, ambassador to the United Nations; Emyr Jones Parry, ambassador to NATO; Jonathan Powell, Mr. Blair's chief of staff and a former senior diplomat at the British Embassy here; John Sawers, ambassador to Egypt; Nigel Sheinwalk, ambassador to the European Union; and Stephen Wall, Mr. Blair's adviser on European issues.

View from Peru

Peruvian Foreign Minister Allan Wagner will hold a 9 a.m. news conference today at the National Press Club.

Mr. Wagner, a former ambassador to the United States, will discuss Peru's cooperation with Washington in the fights against drugs and terrorism. He also will talk about Peru's efforts to strengthen democracy and human rights.

Baltic mission

The Baltic nations received encouraging news this week from a top U.S. diplomat who expressed support for their bid to join NATO.

Elizabeth Jones, assistant secretary of state for European affairs, said Lithuania will serve as an important link with Russia, the Baltic News Service reported.

"Lithuania will contribute as a member of NATO and the European Union to the work of these organizations in the relationship with Russia," she said Monday on her first visit to the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.

Mrs. Jones on Tuesday expressed support for Latvia's candidacy on a visit to that country's capital, Riga. She met with Edgars Rinkevics, state secretary of the Latvian Defense Ministry.

Mrs. Jones also delivered a similar message in Estonia, the news service said. The three Baltic nations hope to be invited to join NATO at a November summit in the Czech capital of Prague.

Meanwhile, officials from NATO's newest members are preparing for visits to Washington to discuss the summit.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs is due to start a two-day visit to discuss the foreign policy goals of the country's new government.

Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy is due here in the fall, a Hungarian Foreign Ministry official said this week.

Czech President Vaclav Havel will hold talks with President Bush on a Sept. 17-24 visit. He also will meet members of Congress and administration officials.

That will be Mr. Havel's last visit to Washington as president, a spokesman told Czech reporters this week. Mr. Havel, who ends his second five-year term early next year, wants to review the progress made in Eastern Europe since the collapse of communism.

Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland were admitted to NATO in 1997.

Ambassador on bail

Zambia's ambassador to the United States has been released from jail on bail, after being arrested last week on corruption charges.

Ambassador Atan Shansonga was summoned to Zambia to face accusations that he plotted with former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba to embezzle millions of dollars in public funds.

Mr. Shansonga was appointed ambassador to the United States in September 2000.

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