- The Washington Times - Monday, June 17, 2002

Cold shoulder to Slovak
The U.S. ambassador to Slovakia has refused to meet former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, after repeatedly warning Slovak voters not to vote for him in the September elections.
"He has given us the cold shoulder. I think it is important to say something face to face." Rudolf Ziak, vice chairman of Mr. Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, said on a visit to Washington last week.
Ambassador Ronald Weisser has warned Slovak voters that they would jeopardize their chance of getting into NATO if they re-elect Mr. Meciar. The United States still considers him an authoritarian leader who opposed Slovak's membership in NATO during his term as prime minister in the 1990s.
Mr. Meciar, at the time, called for a referendum on NATO but now enthusiastically supports membership in the alliance, said Michael Zoldy, a official who accompanied Mr. Ziak to Washington.
Despite the U.S. warnings, Mr. Meciar remains the most popular political figure with more than one-third of voters endorsing him in public opinion polls. None of the parties in the governing coalition draws that level of support.
A recent poll also found more than 50 percent of voters upset by the U.S. warnings on Mr. Meciar. They view Mr. Weisser's statements as "interference in the free competition of political parties in Slovakia," the official TASR news agency reported June 4.
Mr. Zoldy, the party's director of international relations, said the purpose of their visit to Washington was to explain the party's position on NATO and the European Union.

Thinking at USAID
The Bush administration has added five political appointees to the in-house think tank of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
They will help "harmonize U.S. foreign aid with U.S. foreign policy," said Patrick M. Cronin, the agency's assistant administrator for policy.
The appointees are: James Clad, a professor at Georgetown University; Joseph P. Duggan, a speech writer for former President Bush; William Lee Howell, deputy director of the New York-based Japan Society; Matthew McLean, now at the National Security Council; and John Tsagronis, formerly with National Security Research Inc.

Diplomatic traffic
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
cIsraeli Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh, who holds a noon press conference at the National Press Club to discuss combating urban and aviation terrorism.
Alvaro Uribe, president-elect of Colombia.
Dore Gold, a former Israeli U.N. ambassador, He discusses Saudi Arabia and terrorism in a forum organized by the Aspen Institute Berlin, the Hudson Institute and Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican.
Rada Trajkovic and Alush Gashi, members of the Kosovo parliament, and Nebojsa Covic, deputy prime minister of Serbia. They testify before the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in room 124 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, and Yezid Sayigh of England's Cambridge University. They join a panel discussion on Palestine at the Council on Foreign Relations.
A delegation from Colombia that includes: Sen. Rafael Pardo; Maria Emma Mejia, former foreign minister; and Fernando Cepeda of the University of the Andes. They participate in a conference sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Center, the United States Institute of Peace, the International Crisis Group and the Inter-American Dialogue.
Erika Mann of the European Parliament from Germany, who participates in a conference sponsored by the Internet Society of Reston.
NATO Secretary-General George Robertson, who addresses the American Enterprise Institute.
Kazumasa Iwata, economic advisor to the Japanese prime minister's cabinet office. He addresses the National Economists Club and the Society of Government Economists.
President Alejandro Toledo of Peru, who meets National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and congressional leaders. He addresses the Peace Corps annual meeting and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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