- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 21, 2003

Bulgaria anniversary

U.S. officials are pointing to Bulgaria’s strategic importance in southeast Europe as the two nations celebrate 100 years of diplomatic relations.

“Our goal is an increasingly strong and intense military and security partnership as NATO allies,” U.S. Ambassador James Pardew said in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, last week.

Ognian Gerdjikov, president of Bulgaria’s Parliament, said, “Relations between Bulgaria and the United States have never been this good.”



In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher praised Bulgaria’s peacekeeping roles in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina. He also noted that Bulgaria has deployed an infantry battalion of 500 troops to Iraq.

“Bulgaria is a pivotal country in southeastern Europe and has been an important force for tolerance and moderation in a region that has seen too much bloodshed in recent years,” Mr. Boucher said.

Bulgaria was once one of the most isolated and repressive countries in the East European communist bloc. Since the end of the Cold War, the country has moved quickly to align itself with the West.

“The U.S. and Bulgaria have emerged from the challenges of the 20th century as partners in expanding freedom and prosperity in the world,” Mr. Boucher said.

New from Guyana

The longtime ambassador from Guyana, Odeen Ishmael, has traded assignments with his country’s ambassador to Venezuela.

Mr. Ishmael, who came to Washington in 1993, was the sixth most senior foreign ambassador here and the dean of the diplomatic corps of Latin American and Caribbean nations.

He has been replaced by Ambassador Bayney Karran, who should not be confused with Karran Bayney, one of Guyana’s star cricket players.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include the following:

Today

• Ilhan Kesici, a member of the Turkish Parliament, and Cevik Bir, former deputy chief of the general staff of the Turkish army. They participate in a forum sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

• Jordi Alonso of Spain’s Municipal Institute for Medical Investigation, Josep Figueras of the European Observatory on Health Care Systems, Lenore Manderson of Australia’s University of Melbourne, Elena Novitchkova of Russia’s I.M. Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy, Martin Pfaff of Germany’s University of Augsburg, George Rubin of Australia’s University of Sydney and Bijan Sadrizadeh of Iran’s Ministry of Health and Medical Education. They attend the 5th International Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services.

Tomorrow

• Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, U.N. special representative for West Africa, who addresses the United States Institute of Peace.

• Pierre Hassner of the National Foundation for Political Sciences in Paris, who discusses U.S.-European relations at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

• Roy Romanow, former premier of Saskatchewan. He addresses a health-care seminar at George Washington University.

• Menachem Klein of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, who discusses Israeli security issues at a forum sponsored by Americans for Peace Now.

Wednesday

• Sir Brian Urquhart of Britain, a former U.N. undersecretary-general for special political affairs.

• Tahsin Ertugruloglu, foreign minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Thursday

• Vakhtang Rcheulishvili, vice chairman of the Parliament of Georgia and founder of the Socialist Party of Georgia. He addresses a forum at the Nixon Center on the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Friday

• Russian President Vladimir Putin, who meets President Bush at Camp David.

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

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