- The Washington Times - Monday, October 7, 2002

Finance meetings in Singapore
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will hold their annual meetings in Singapore in 2006, an official from the island said on a visit to Washington.
Singapore's offer to host the meetings was a sign of "our deep commitment" to the financial institutions made up of 184 member nations, said Lim Hng Kiang, the second minister for finance and chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
"When the meetings were last held in East Asia in Hong Kong in 1997, the region was in the midst of a severe currency crisis," he said. "It is fitting that the meetings will be held in East Asia in 2006 in view of the important steps that many countries in the region have taken in strengthening their financial systems and restructuring their economies."

Moving in Kazakhstan
The United States is planning to move its embassy in Kazakhstan from the old, leafy capital of Almaty to the new capital, Astana, a city of gleaming buildings with Siberia-like winters and steamy summers.
U.S. Ambassador Larry Napper last week signed a rental agreement for a site in Astana.
Meanwhile, the Kazakh Embassy in Washington announced a new public-and-private partnership to promote U.S. business investment in Kazakhstan.
President Bush pledged $10 million to fund the project, after his recent meeting with Kazakhstan's president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The so-called "Houston Initiative" is designed to "develop ties between the private sectors of the two countries, to increase competitiveness for Kazakhstan's business sector and to develop profitable business partnerships beyond the traditionally strong oil and gas sector," the embassy said.

Wild in Costa Rica
Costa Rican Ambassador Jaime Daremblum is praising a new book about 300 species of birds, butterflies, reptiles and other animals in his Central American nation.
Mr. Daremblum recently hosted a reception for American biologist Carrol L. Henderson to promote his "Field Guide to the Wild Life of Costa Rica."
"As a Costa Rican, I am proud to hold in my hands a book that reminds us that Costa Rica is, indeed, one of the richest countries in the world when it comes to its natural resources," the ambassador said.

Diplomatic traffic
Foreign visitors due in Washington this week include:
Chilean Defense Minister Michelle Bachelet, who meets Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, members of Congress, and Cesar Gaviria, secretary-general of the Organization of American States.
Makoto Iokibe, history professor at Japan's Kobe University, who participates in a forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Viktor Yushchenko, former prime minister of Ukraine, and Oleksandr Chaliy of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. They join a panel discussion on Ukraine, sponsored by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.
Naomi Chazan, deputy speaker of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, who discusses Israeli-Palestinian issues at the Foundation for Middle East Peace.
Queen Sirikit of Thailand, who hosts a dinner at the Library of Congress for White House officials, members of Congress and leaders of the Thai community in the United States.
Aslan Abashidze, president of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara in the Republic of Georgia, who meets Bush administration officials and members of Congress.
Benny Elon, a member of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, and leader of the National Unity-Israel Beiteinu faction of the legislature.
Yuri Dzhibladze, director of Russia's Center for Development of Democracy and Human Rights, who addresses Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
A Taiwanese delegation that includes Bi-Khim Hsiao, a member of the Taiwanese legislature from the Democratic People's Party; Raymond Wu of the People First Party; and Da-Nien Liu of the Chunghwa Institute for Economic Research. They participate in a Heritage Foundation forum.
Aviezer Ravitzky of Hebrew University, who addresses guests of George Washington University and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

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