- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2002

Pakistan diplomats exit

Pakistan Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi is losing some of her top diplomats who have strong contacts with the U.S. administration and Congress.

The officials include the deputy chief of mission and two political officers. The defense attache has already left.

In each case, the departing diplomat is going on to a higher office in the Pakistani foreign service, but the departures could weaken the embassy's influence in Washington at a time of crisis with India.

"There will be a temporary vacuum of expertise," embassy spokesman Milan Asad Hayauddin said yesterday.

However, he added, their replacements will be seasoned diplomats who will quickly recover any lost ground.

Miss Lodhi herself is expected to resign by the Oct. 7 parliamentary elections. Like other political appointees, she would be expected to submit a resignation when the government changes. Miss Lodhi is serving her second tour as ambassador. She served first in 1994 under former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and returned in 2000 under Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

The loss of her top-tier diplomats at the same time is just a coincidence, Mr. Hayauddin said.

Zamir Akram, the deputy chief of mission, has been promoted to ambassador to Nepal. He has been in Washington for two years.

Political counselor Mohammad Masood Khan was due to leave last year, but his term was extended. Mr. Khan, who will be returning to the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, has been promoted to director general, an entry-level ambassadorial rank that would qualify him to serve as chief of mission in a small country.

Sohail Mahmood, recently promoted to the rank of political counselor, has been assigned to the Pakistani Embassy in India. He has been here for three years.

Mr. Khan and Mr. Mahmood handled relations with Congress, the State Department and Washington think tanks.

Defense Attache Brig. Syed Muhammad Mujtaba, who returned to Islamabad, has been replaced by Brig. Shafqaat Ahmed.

From Cuba to Africa

Vicki Huddleston, the U.S. representative in Cuba, has been nominated to serve as ambassador to the West African nation of Mali.

Mrs. Huddleston has been chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana since 1999.

She was among five ambassadorial nominations the White House announced this week. All are career Foreign Service officers.

Richard L. Baltimore, now consul-general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was selected to serve in the Persian Gulf country of Oman. Martin G. Brennan, now ambassador to Uganda, was nominated ambassador to Zambia. Donald C. Johnson was selected to serve in Cape Verde. He is now the senior adviser to the director-general of the Foreign Service. Jimmy Kolker, now ambassador to Burkina Faso, was named ambassador to Uganda. Gail Mathieu, deputy chief of mission in Ghana, was selected to serve in Niger.

Slovak envoy honored

The American Jewish Committee today honors Slovak Ambassador Martin Butora for his work to protect Jewish civil rights and historic landmarks.

The committee's Washington chapter will present Mr. Butora with the Celebration of Freedom award at a reception at the Slovak Embassy.

"The ambassador is being honored for his work in helping preserve and protect the surviving Jewish community in Slovakia," the committee said, referring to his earlier human rights work in Slovakia.

"He has worked toward preserving Jewish landmarks, re-establishing institutions of Jewish education and strengthening relations with Israel."

Kyrgyz at West Point

When President Bush addressed the graduating class at West Point, his audience included the first citizen from the former Soviet Union to attend the U.S. Military Academy, the Kyrgyz Embassy said this week.

Kyrgyz Ambassador Baktybek Abdrisaev attended the ceremony to congratulate the graduate, Marat Davletshin.

"Just 10 years ago, it was impossible to predict a Kyrgyz citizen would become a graduate of the American military academy," the ambassador said. "Now it is a reality, and it clearly shows the level of friendship and partnership between Kyrgyzstan and the United States."

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