- The Washington Times - Monday, December 22, 2003

French charm

French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte displayed his diplomatic skills as he praised Franco-American relations this weekend at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Louisiana Purchase.

Ignoring the French-U.S. dispute over the war in Iraq, Mr. Levitte expressed Paris’ appreciation to the American forces that supported France in World War I and liberated the country in World War II.

“America saved France twice in the last century,” he said at a ceremony on Saturday in New Orleans. “And next year on the sixth of June, we will commemorate, in the most solemn and moving way, the 60th anniversary of D-Day.”

Mr. Levitte referred to France’s long alliance with the United States, dating to the American Revolution, when Frenchmen such as Marquis de Lafayette, Count de Rochambeau and Adm. Francois de Grasse helped defeat the British.

“Our friendship is not only deeply rooted in history, it is based on shared values, friendship, democracy,” the ambassador said.

“It is in New Orleans that this friendship based on shared values has been best maintained. For this, I want to say, ‘Thank you,’”

Death of a diplomat

The Russian Foreign Ministry called Oleg Troyanovsky a diplomat “with a capital ‘D,’” as Moscow mourned the loss of the 84-year-old career ambassador who died Sunday after a long illness.

Throughout the Cold War, Mr. Troyanovsky championed Soviet policy as an adversary of the West but occasionally enchanted his fellow diplomats with his wit.

As ambassador to the United Nations, he defended the Soviet Union when its planes shot down a South Korean civilian airliner in 1983, even vetoing a Security Council resolution condemning Moscow for the action.

Mr. Troyanovsky was the rare Soviet diplomat with a sense of humor.

In 1980, two protestors from a dissident Soviet Marxist group sneaked into the Security Council chamber and threw red paint on Mr. Troyanovsky and U.S. Ambassador William van den Heuvel.

“Better red than dead,” Mr. Troyanovsky quipped.

Another time, he was interrupted while giving a speech in Russian at the General Assembly by diplomats who complained that they were not getting an English translation.

“No matter,” he said. “It wasn’t interesting what I was saying.”

Mr. Troyanovsky attended Washington’s prestigious Sidwell Friends School, while his father, Alexander, served as the first Soviet ambassador to the United States from 1934 to 1938.

He joined the Soviet Foreign Ministry in 1944 and served as ambassador to Japan from 1967 to 1976. After his tour at the United Nations, he again served as ambassador to Japan from 1986 to 1990, when he retired.

“At all the high diplomatic posts he held, Mr. Troyanovsky showed himself as a brilliant professional and diplomat with a capital ‘D,’” the Foreign Ministry said in announcing his death.

Israeli joins Wilson

Israeli Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein will join the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars next month for a seven-week fellowship.

Mr. Rubinstein, who is retiring from his position, served as an adviser to Israeli prime ministers for 25 years and was instrumental in negotiations that led to peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan.

Wilson Center President Lee H. Hamilton praised Mr. Rubinstein for a “fascinating career.” He began his government service as a lawyer in the Defense Ministry in 1973.

“There is simply not a key decision taken by the Israeli government over more than three decades that did not have the benefit of Eli Rubinstein’s sound judgment and wise counsel,” Mr. Hamilton said.

“Throughout his career, Eli has been an important friend of the United States,” he said.

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

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