- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mexican emotions

Mexican Ambassador Carlos de Icaza expressed deep sadness for the victims of Hurricane Katrina when he hosted a dinner for reporters at his elegant residence.

“We are all very, very sad over what happened,” he said. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to say that we are with you. … We are neighbors.”

Mr. de Icaza noted that Mexico could have been hit by the killer storm if the hurricane had shifted in the Gulf.

“What happened in Louisiana could have happened in Mexico,” he said.

The ambassador added that he had “mixed feelings” about whether he should have canceled the Friday night reception.

“When all of this happened, we were discussing what to do,” he said, referring to talks with his aides. “I couldn’t be quiet about the mixed feelings.”

Mexico responded to the crisis by sending an army convoy of 45 tractor-trailers with water-treatment equipment and mobile kitchens that can feed up to 7,000 peoplea day.

Concert for victims

German Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger is promoting a concert in Houston by one of Germany’s premier orchestras for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and volunteers providing disaster relief.

“This unique trans-Atlantic cultural event testifies to the friendship between our two nations and peoples,” the ambassador said this week, after returning from New Orleans, where he met with German technicians helping in the relief effort.

The free concert on Wednesday by the Dresden State Orchestra of Saxony and the Houston Symphony will be held at Jones Hall in Houston, where many of the hurricane victims were transferred.

“We want to recognize all those who have given so unselfishly of their time and resources to welcome and assist those who fled Katrina and came here,” said Matthew VanBesien, executive director and chief executive officer of the Houston Symphony.

In Dresden this week, Saxony President Georg Milbradt said, “We want to tell the people in the disaster areas in the Gulf: Do not let hope die. Take courage and rebuild your homes. How could this possibly be better said than in the language of music?”

On Monday, the ambassador visited with the 89 specialists from Germany’s Federal Agency for Technical Relief, who arrived in New Orleans last week with 15 high-capacity pumps that can handle up to 4,000 gallons of water per minute.

“As far as we know, we are the first team on location here and most certainly the first with such a large and deployment-ready group,” he told them.

The German Embassy is also urging financial contributions for hurricane relief to the German American Solidarity Fund, established after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Checks should be made out to the German American Solidarity Fund Inc. — Hurricane Katrina, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, 4645 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, D.C., 20007.

New Saudi envoy

Saudi Arabia’s new ambassador presented his diplomatic credentials this week to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, formally establishing himself as the successor to Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the longest-serving foreign envoy in Washington.

“It is an honor for me to represent my country as ambassador to the United States, and I look forward to assuming my new duties,” said Prince Turki al-Faisal, after the meeting with Miss Rice.

“Our two countries have had a strong and mutually beneficial relationship for over six decades, and I look forward to working to further strengthen and deepen these historic ties.”

Prince Turki is the former ambassador to Britain and a former director of the Saudi intelligence service. He is also a brother-in-law to Prince Bandar, who came to Washington as ambassador in 1983.

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

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