- The Washington Times - Monday, September 6, 2004

Afghan diplomacy

The Afghan ambassador to the United States is expanding his diplomatic influence as he prepares to present his credentials as a nonresident ambassador to Brazil next week.

Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad presented credentials last month to Mexican President Vicente Fox as nonresident envoy to Mexico.

Mr. Jawad will meet Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Sept. 13.

In the latest edition of the Afghan Embassy newsletter, Mr. Jawad said he will convey greetings from President Hamid Karzai and urge Brazilians to invest in Afghanistan.

“As Afghanistan makes the transition from war and destruction to peace and reconstruction, we look forward to establishing strong bilateral relations with Brazil and encourage the country to take advantage of many investment opportunities in Afghanistan, thereby helping our country rebuild and develop on a long-term basis,” he said.

Mr. Jawad, who has been ambassador since December, hosted his first Afghan independence day celebrations at the embassy with more than 400 guests last month.

“Today, after 85 years of independence, Afghanistan’s self-reliance is truly solidifying day by day, as the Afghan people are enthusiastically participating in the process of building a democratic society and establishing the rule of law, as evidenced by the successful ongoing voter-registration process in Afghanistan,” Mr. Jawad said.

More than 10.5 million Afghans registered to vote by the Aug. 20 deadline for the Oct. 9 national elections.

Women, who were systematically persecuted under the deposed Taliban regime, make up 41.3 percent of registered voters, the embassy said.

Mr. Jawad included an appeal for the international community to continue donating to the reconstruction of his country, urging them to “accelerate their assistance to Afghanistan so that our country rapidly builds the capacity to stand on her feet.”

Guests at the national day reception included Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; Andrew Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Maureen Quinn, the State Department’s coordinator for Afghanistan.

Corrupt Kenya

The U.S. ambassador to Kenya is warning of a drastic decline in living standards in the East African nation unless the new president tackles public corruption and disbands government-owned monopolies.

Ambassador William Bellamy, over the weekend, said the country is so economically weak that it risks “marginalizing” itself in a region that it once dominated.

“Over the past 10 to 15 years, Kenya, its institutions and social structures have suffered long-term effects of poor government, entrenched corruption and an across-the-board loss of international confidence,” Mr. Bellamy told an information-technology conference in the capital, Nairobi, according to press reports.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has responded to such criticism by explaining that his government is doing the best it can after 24 years of misrule by Daniel arap Moi. Mr. Kibaki has been president less than two years.

Mr. Bellamy told the conference that Kenya is missing an opportunity to take advantage of telecommunications because the country’s only connector to the Internet is controlled by state-owned Telkom Kenya. Mr. Kibaki’s government ended Telkom Kenya’s monopoly in July, but has done little to encourage competition, Mr. Bellamy said.

“This is a major drag on Kenya’s ability to communicate with the rest of the world and a major disincentive for foreign investment and trade,” he said.

Without quick reform, Mr. Bellamy warned, Kenya “runs the very real risk of marginalizing itself even within the immediate East African region.”

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

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