- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 14, 2003

Algeria recovering

Algerian Ambassador Idriss Jazairy returned to Washington this week after a home visit during which he checked on his country’s recovery from a massive earthquake in May.

“In some parts it looks like an atom bomb has dropped,” he told Embassy Row yesterday.

However, most of the survivors are living in temporary shelters and getting aid from international donors. Schools are about to reopen, and children will have medicine, pencils, paper and other supplies thanks in large part to Mr. Jazairy’s fund-raising efforts in Washington.

Individuals and corporations responded generously to Mr. Jazairy’s appeal this summer. He collected $2.5 million in cash donations as well as contributions of such relief supplies as medicine and medical equipment. The U.S. government airlifted $1.6 million worth of tents and other emergency housing needs to the survivors.

Contributions reached the embassy in checks as large as $500,000 from John B. Hess, chairman of the Amerada Hess oil company, and as little as $15. The Mormon Church shipped four containers with more than $400,000 worth of blankets and medical supplies.

Mr. Hess, whose company is a major investor in the Algerian oil industry, expressed his “deepest condolences for terrible loss of life.”

Mr. Jazairy said the relief effort “exceeded all of my expectations.

“It is a wonderful expression of people-to-people solidarity,” he added.

Many Washingtonians volunteered their help.

Gail Scott — author of “Diplomatic Dance,” which profiled ambassadors in Washington — assisted the ambassador’s wife, Z-Hor, in organizing the drive for school supplies.

“The children were walking around lost. Their teachers were killed, their schools closed,” Ms. Scott said.

Mr. Jazairy said all the contributions went to the recovery effort, not to overheard costs.

“I promised them that all the money will go directly to the reconstruction effort, and I wrote personally to each contributor,” he said.

The May 21 earthquake, which struck in the densely populated suburbs of the capital, Algiers, killed 2,270, injured 11,000 and left 180,000 people homeless.

Mr. Jazairy visited survivors in the Zemmouri and Boumerdes suburbs and told them of the generosity of the American people.

“They were highly appreciative and asked me to express their thanks,” he said.

Contributions can still be made to the Embassy of Algeria, Earthquake Relief Fund, care of Citibank F.S.B., 1225 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC, 20036. The account number is 15176800. For wire transfers, include the ABA bank routing number, 254070116.

Iraq to reopen embassy

The new government in Iraq said yesterday that it plans to send new diplomats to the United States and six other countries in the first step toward restoring diplomatic relations after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqi Embassy at 1801 P St. NW will reopen as a “liaison office” for the new interim government in Baghdad, according to Ghassan Hussein, chairman of a steering committee formed to revamp the Foreign Ministry.

The embassy operated as an interests section under the protection of the Algerian Embassy from 1991 until the overthrow of Saddam in April.

Mr. Hussein told Agence France-Presse in Baghdad that the Iraqi government also will reopen diplomatic offices in Bahrain, Britain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Iraq plans to have liaison offices in 38 countries by the end of the year.

“All the ambassadors and charges d’affaires [appointed by Saddam] have been changed, and we will send in their place new heads of liaison offices,” Mr. Hussein said.

Baghdad first severed diplomatic relations with Washington in 1967 when Iraq joined other Arab countries in attacking Israel in the Six-Day War. The Reagan administration restored relations in 1984.

The first President Bush ordered the expulsion of all but four Iraqi diplomats in 1991 at the start of the Persian Gulf war to liberate Kuwait, which was invaded by Iraq.

Three diplomats remained at the embassy when the Iraqi mission closed with the downfall of Saddam.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrisonwashingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide