- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 20, 2002

Afghan diplomacy

The new ambassador from Afghanistan met President Bush yesterday to present his diplomatic credentials and a poem his daughter wrote about September 11.

"I am honored and humbled that President Hamid Karzai has given me the opportunity to represent my beloved country in such a meaningful way," Ambassador Ishaq Shahryar told Mr. Bush.

"This is the best chance in decades for Afghanistan to establish a democracy and rebuild its war-torn economy. I will use my skills and experience to help the Afghan people enter the 21st century."

Mr. Shahryar, the first Afghan ambassador to the United States since 1978, is a former Los Angeles businessman who helped invent low-cost solar-energy cells.

An Afghan immigrant, he gave up his U.S. citizenship to represent his country.

Mr. Shahryar presented a poem to Mr. Bush that was written by his 10-year-old daughter, Jahan. It reads in part:

"Tears fill our eyes,

America cries,

But we still stand as

A Land of Freedom."

New post for Pakistani

A former Pakistani ambassador to the United States has gotten a top post in a Cabinet shuffle announced yesterday by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

Riaz Khokhar, ambassador here from 1997 to 2000, was appointed foreign secretary to replace Inamul Haq, who was named deputy foreign minister. Mr. Khokhar most recently served as Pakistan's ambassador to China.

Agence France-Presse yesterday quoted sources as saying that Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Maleeha Lodhi, is expected to be replaced by Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, a former ambassador to India. Miss Lodhi, serving her second tour, has been ambassador here since 2000.

Aid to Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast Ambassador Pascal D. Kokora this week signed an agreement that will provide $200 million in development aid from the World Bank.

"The Ivorian government is grateful for this latest indication of confidence of the World Bank," he said. "With this financial support, the government will be able to begin the program of reform agreed upon so that Ivorian citizens can benefit from the improved economic management."

The aid will help Ivory Coast's Economic Recovery Program and the Poverty Reduction and Growth Program, which are aimed at improving the economy, restoring confidence in the business community and attracting foreign investment, the Ivory Coast Embassy said.

The aid is in the form of a credit that will be repaid over 40 years, beginning in 2012.

The economy in the West African nation fell into severe decline, with a negative growth rate brought on by corruption and fiscal mismanagement.

Appeal to Turkey

The United States expects Turkey to play a "constructive role" in reaching a settlement on Cyprus, a U.S. envoy said this week.

Thomas Weston, the U.S. special coordinator for Cyprus, delivered the message in a meeting with Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal on Monday.

Turkish news reports said he expressed hopes for progress in talks between the leaders of Cyprus' Greek and Turkish communities, although the negotiations have been deadlocked for months.

Mr. Weston "stated that the U.S. expected Turkey to take up a constructive role in the process," the Turkish Daily News reported.

The United States believes Turkey can bring pressure on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to reach a negotiated solution to the division of the island. Mr. Denktash heads the government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey.

Mr. Weston also said talks should continue past a self-imposed deadline to reach a settlement by the end of this month.

Bush taps Roth

President Bush has selected career diplomat Richard Allan Roth to serve as ambassador to Guinea-Bissau.

Mr. Roth is a special adviser to the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Walter H. Kansteiner. He previously served as the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.

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