- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 7, 2003

‘Courtesy call’

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon is due back in Washington today, after a visit to Israel to reassure anxious government leaders that the Bush administration is committed to its own peace plan for the Middle East and not interested in the latest free-lance diplomatic effort known as the Geneva Accord.

Mr. Ayalon told the Israeli parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committees that they should not misinterpret a meeting between Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and the authors of the latest plan, former Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin and former Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo.

The ambassador said the Friday meeting was nothing more than a “courtesy call” and that the Bush administration still believes that its “road map” for peace stands a better chance of success.

He credited the close relations between President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for creating the “best ever” ties between Israel and the United States.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include the following:


• African ministers of trade, commerce and industry, who attend an annual meeting of the U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum. Speakers include Erastus J.O. Mwencha, secretary-general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa; Mukhisa Kituyi, Kenya’s minister of trade and industry; and Jaya Cuttaree, Mauritius’ minister of trade and industry.

• Daniel Lipsic, justice minister of the Slovak Republic, who meets Attorney General John Ashcroft and addresses Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Slovakia’s efforts to combat terrorism and corruption.

• Nasim Ashraf, Pakistan’s minister of state and chairman of the National Commission for Human Development, who addresses the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

• Jose Miguel Insulza, interior minister of Chile, who addresses the Democratic Leadership Council. Tomorrow, he meets Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and addresses the Inter-American Dialogue.


• Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who meets President Bush tomorrow and addresses the National Committee on U.S.-Chinese Relations and the U.S-China Business Council. He also meets administration officials and members of Congress. Mr. Wen is accompanied by Vice Commerce Minister Ma Xiu Hong and Government Reform Minister Ma Kai.

• Beatriz Merino Lucero, prime minister of Peru; Kim Campbell, former prime minister of Canada; Amat Alaleem Alsoswa, Yemen’s minister for human rights; Zeljka Antunovic, defense minister of Croatia; Yasmina Baddou, secretary of state for the family, solidarity and social action of Morocco; Mu Sochua, minister of women’s and veterans’ affairs of Cambodia; Charity Ngilu, health minister of Kenya; and others. They help the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs inaugurate a program for global female leadership.

• A delegation of Nicaraguan cattle ranchers and government officials, who promote newly certified organic beef to the U.S. market.

• Leonel Fernandez, former president of the Dominican Republic, who helps the Inter-American Dialogue release a study on remittances to Latin America.


• Nelson Herrera, defense minister of Ecuador, and Fernando Navarro, a business executive. They address the Inter-American Dialogue.

• Alvaro Colom, a presidential candidate in Guatemala’s Dec. 28 election. He addresses the Inter-American Dialogue.

• Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister of Chechnya; Rudd Lubbers, U.N. high commissioner for refugees and former Dutch prime minister; and Frank Judd, the European Parliament’s former special envoy for Chechnya. They discuss conditions in Chechnya at a forum at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected]

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