- The Washington Times - Monday, March 28, 2005

Where’s the beef?

Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato is preparing for another tense meeting with members of Congress who are demanding that Japan lift its ban on U.S. beef.

Mr. Kato, who expects to sit down with members of the Senate and House next month, is worried the pressure on Japan might sour U.S.-Japanese trade in other areas.

“Japan-U.S. relations are strong and solid, but things can collapse unexpectedly rapidly,” he told Japan’s Kyodo news service.

Congress has held two meetings with Mr. Kato to press him to persuade his government to set a timetable for removing the 15-month-old ban. Japan was the top U.S. importer of beef before the United States discovered a case of mad cow disease in December 2003.

Mr. Kato said he received the request for the meeting last week. Members of Congress want to know what progress has been made since they last talked with the ambassador.

Appeal to Bulgaria

James Pardew, the U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria, is urging the government there to consider the democratic successes in Iraq before setting a deadline for withdrawing Bulgarian troops.

Mr. Pardew delivered the message to the Bulgarian parliament last week, after the Defense Ministry announced plans to bring home its 450 soldiers by the end of the year.

The ambassador called for Bulgaria “to take into account the concrete circumstances and conditions in Iraq and the progress towards democratization,” said a spokesman for Borislav Velikov, president of the Bulgarian parliament.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, who will join President Bush for a White House ceremony to honor Greek Independence Day.

• Egyptian Education Minister Ahmad Gamal el-Din Moussa, who will address invited guests at the Middle East Institute.

Tomorrow

• Judge Koen Lenaerts of the European Court of Justice, who will discuss the proposed constitution of the European Union with invited guests at the office of the EU delegation to the United States.

• Achilles Skordas, a professor at the School of Law at the University of Athens, who will discuss the future of the European Union with invited guests of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

• Stephen Stedman, a special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He will discuss the United Nations’ role in conflict management at the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

• Diana Kattan, a Christian Palestinian living in East Jerusalem; Nina Mayorek, a Jewish Israeli living in West Jerusalem; and Aitemad Muhanna, a Muslim Palestinian living in the Gaza Strip. They discuss peace efforts at 9:30 a.m. in Room 2325 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Wednesday

• Johan Bjorksten, a Swedish business executive and specialist on marketing in China. He will hold a 3 p.m. press conference at the National Press Club.

Thursday

• Argentine Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa, who will meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and hold a 4:30 p.m. press conference at the residence of Argentine Ambassador Jose Octavio Bordon.

• Prabhu Guptara, the Indian-born director of the Swiss-based Wolfsberg Executive Development Center. He will discuss global trade issues at the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Friday

• Britain’s Chris Patten, a former commissioner at the European Union for foreign affairs and current co-chairman of the International Crisis Group, and Gareth Evans, a former foreign minister of Australia and current president and chief executive officer of the ICG.

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

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