- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 26, 2003

Ethiopian anger

The Ethiopian ambassador criticized American University and the Eritrean ambassador over a recent forum that focused on charges of Ethiopian aggression in the Horn of Africa.

Ambassador Kassahun Ayele complained in a press statement that he was unable to present Ethiopia’s case at the forum because he had not received an invitation to the event.

AU says it invited him as well as Ambassador Girma Asmerom, from neighboring Eritrea, for a discussion on strained relations between the two countries, which fought over a territorial dispute from 1998 to 2000. The United Nations has warned that the peace treaty ending the war is under “severe stress.”

At the forum, Mr. Asmerom said his country is the victim of “the destructive campaign of a country bent on waging war, despite numerous attempts to resolve the matter peacefully and diplomatically.”

Mr. Kassahun accused the Eritrean ambassador of distorting the facts.

“Contrary to these lies and allegations of Ethiopian aggression that Eritrea insists upon repeating, there is ample third-party testimony noting that Eritrea was, in fact, the aggressor,” Mr. Kassahun said.

He cited congressional testimony from Susan Rice, former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, who noted that Eritrea struck first in May 1998 by capturing the town of Badme, then administered by Ethiopia in a poorly defined border area. Ethiopia later recaptured the town but lost it during peace negotiations.

Romanian history

Romanian Ambassador Sorin Ducaru was talking to the press Oct. 19 outside Fairfax Hospital, where his wife, Carmen, was inside making history. She gave birth to the first child born to a Romanian ambassador in the United States.

“This is another historic event,” Mr. Ducaru told Embassy Row last week.

They named their daughter Maria Teodora. She is their first child.

As she was born, Mr. Ducaru was discussing the results of Romanian absentee voting on a constitutional amendment to endorse membership in NATO and the European Union. Romanians in the United States supported the amendment with 54.7 percent of the vote, he said.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


• Romanian President Ion Iliescu, who meets Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. He also speaks at George Washington University. Tomorrow, he meets with President Bush and congressional leaders.

• Mo Jong-ryn , a professor from South Korea’s Yonsei University. He addresses Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

• Spanish writer and philosopher Fernando Savater, who addresses the Inter-American Development Bank.


• Len Edwards, Canada’s deputy minister for international trade, who will address the Canada Institute about North American trade issues.

• John Bruton, former Irish prime minister and now a member of the Irish parliament; Lamberto Dini, former Italian prime minister and now vice president of the Italian Senate; and Werner Hoyer, a member of the German parliament and chairman of the European Liberal, Democratic and Reform Party. They address guests of the New Atlantic Initiative and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

• Judge Thomas Buergenthal of International Court of Justice at The Hague. He addresses the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.


• Canada’s Robert K. Barney of the University of Western Ontario, Greece’s Georgios Georgountzos, director of Olympic Games and international sports relations, and Constantinos Cartalis, general secretary of the 2004 Olympic Games. They will discuss next year’s Olympic Games in Greece at a forum at the Smithsonian Institution.

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

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