- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2005

German visitor

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will visit President Bush on Monday, and not a single contentious issue is on the agenda, the German ambassador said yesterday.

U.S.-German relations soared in 2001 when Germans expressed support for victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and plummeted before the war in Iraq began in 2003. Now ties are strengthening again, as the two leaders prepare for their second meeting since Mr. Bush traveled to Germany in February.

“This will be a good visit. There is not a single issue of major controversy,” Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger said. “The relationship is back on track. We have close cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

He said Washington and Berlin are working together on areas from technology to terrorism. Germany has troops in Afghanistan and is training Iraqi soldiers and police officers in the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Ischinger, who arrived in Washington in July 2001, is relieved that the disagreement over Iraq is “behind us.”

He remembered that German citizens raised $60 million for victims of the terrorist attacks, and the German Embassy collected $10 million.

“After September 11, I was a really popular ambassador, not only on college campuses but also in Congress,” he said.

Mr. Schroeder’s one-day visit also will include talks with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Justice for Liberia

The United States is bringing public pressure on Nigeria to revoke the political asylum given to the former leader of Liberia and extradite him to face trial for war crimes.

John Campbell, the U.S. ambassador in Nigeria, yesterday said Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo must turn over former Liberian President Charles Taylor to a U.N. tribunal prosecuting war-crimes charges against leaders of a rebel movement in the West African nation of Sierra Leone.

Mr. Taylor is accused of sponsoring the rebels who routinely tortured and killed civilians in the 1990s. His own country also was torn by civil war.

Mr. Obasanjo received wide praise two years ago for persuading Mr. Taylor to resign as president in exchange for political asylum in Nigeria.

“Nigeria played an exemplary role in ending the bloodshed in Liberia and that included the acceptance of Taylor at the request of the Economic Community of West African States,” Mr. Campbell told reporters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. “But the United States believes that Taylor must be brought to justice for the crimes which he has been accused of.”

Iraqi newsmaker

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari will hold a 6 p.m. press conference today in the Main Ballroom of the National Press Club at 529 14th St. NW.

Mexican honor

The Mexican Embassy yesterday praised White House aide Ruben Barrales for his “commitment to improving the well-being of Hispanics in the United States.”

Mr. Barrales, an American of Mexican heritage, will receive one of Mexico’s top awards today in Puerto Rico at the annual conference of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.

The embassy said Mr. Barrales will be honored with the Ohtli Award, a Mexican-Indian word for “path.” The award is given annually by the Institute for Mexicans Abroad, which promotes ties between Mexico and foreigners of Mexican ancestry.

Mr. Barrales is the White House director of intergovernmental affairs and is one of the highest-ranking administration officials of Hispanic heritage.

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

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