- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2002

Historic tour of duty
The deputy chief of the Czech Embassy left Washington after a five-year assignment that saw his country enter NATO and join the United States in the war on terrorism.
Antonin Hradilek also saw his children adopt English as a second language, as he adopted Washington as a second home.
"Without any exaggeration, I can say that I consider the last five years to be among the most exciting ones in my career," he wrote in the Czech Embassy newsletter.
"Three years ago, the Czech Republic became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and we now enjoy unprecedented security within the most powerful military and political alliance in the world."
Mr. Hradilek said NATO gives his generation of Czech citizens the kind of security that was denied to his parents' generation when they faced "Nazi aggression and the subsequent Soviet domination."
"Recent events show that the struggle for the security of democratic nations is far from over," he said. "I have witnessed the attacks of September 11, and I believe this experience will help me to work even harder on strengthening the ties between the Czech Republic and the United States in my new assignment at the foreign ministry."

Tanzanian debt relief
The United States canceled Tanzania's debt in a ceremony last week when U.S. Ambassador Robert Royall signed an agreement writing off more than $21 million in loans.
"The relief means 100 percent of Tanzania's remaining stock of debt owed to the United States has been written off," the U.S. Embassy said in a statement in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam.
The United States wrote off $16 million in debt last year.

A dubious gift
The U.S. ambassador to Bolivia may receive an unwelcome gift from a Bolivian presidential candidate who chews coca leaves on the campaign trail and opposes U.S. efforts to eradicate the raw product used to make cocaine.
"I will send him a little coca leaf as a gift," Evo Morales said in a Bolivian newspaper interview.
Ambassador Manuel Rocha is unlikely to accept the present. He has warned Bolivians that U.S.-Bolivian relations could be harmed if Mr. Morales becomes president.
Last week, Mr. Morales was running third in the vote count from the June 30 election. Because no candidate received a majority of the vote, the Bolivian Congress is expected to choose a president by Aug. 3.

Reform in Montenegro
The president of Montenegro viewed the opening of a U.S. consulate as a sign of respect for the democratic reforms in the Yugoslav republic.
President Milo Djukanovic and U.S. Ambassador William Montgomery opened the consulate in a ceremony on July 4th in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica.
"This is a recognition for Montenegro for its reformist and democratic progress, as well as for its contribution in reinforcing the stability in the region in the past years," Mr. Djukanovic said, according to news reports.
Montenegro and Serbia are the two remaining republics in Yugoslavia.

Diplomatic traffic
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
Abdullah al Turki, secretary-general of the Muslim World League and former minister of Islamic affairs in Saudi Arabia. He holds a 10 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club to introduce a delegation of Muslim scholars on a goodwill tour of the United States.
A delegation representing the president of the Republic of Congo that includes: Cabinet director Firmin Ayessa, oil adviser Bruno Itoua, economic adviser Gilbert Ondongo, communications director Jean-Claude Gakosso and presidential envoy Claudia Sassou-Nguesso Lemboumba.
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, who meets Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
A delegation of female civic leaders from Central Asia that includes: Malika Boymuradova of Tajikistan, Ayniso Achilova and Dinora Razzakova of Uzbekistan and Gulbanu Charieva and Muhbira Tyuraeva of Turkmenistan. They address Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty on women's issues.

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