- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 16, 2006

Slovenia honored

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa and his weary contingent of traveling diplomats capped the end of a busy day of official visits in Washington with an intimate dinner in Georgetown University’s elegant and historic Riggs Library.

Mr. Jansa relaxed last Monday evening with invited guests who included Sen. George V. Voinovich, Ohio Republican, who has Slovenian heritage, and discussed the progress his nation has made 15 years after declaring its independence from the former Yugoslavia.

He said he had a “very fruitful” meeting earlier that day with President Bush, who praised Slovenia for contributing troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Your contributions … will make a difference in achieving peace,” Mr. Bush said at their White House meeting.

Mr. Jansa told him that Slovenia appreciated the encouragement from the United States and Western Europe in its struggle to create a democratic government and free-market economy.

“We feel that now it’s our obligation that we help others to do the same,” Mr. Jansa said.

At Georgetown University — famous for its world-class school of foreign service and a priority visit for many foreign officials on their trips to Washington — Stewart McLaurin, chief of staff to university President John J. DeGioia, hosted the dinner for about 35 guests, which included Mr. Jansa and Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, a former ambassador to the United States.

Mr. McLaurin, who extended Mr. DeGioia’s apologies because a previous commitment took him out of town, noted that Slovenia has achieved membership in NATO and the European Union and is due to preside over the EU in 2008.

“Slovenia has distinguished itself by promoting democracy throughout the region,” Mr. McLaurin said.

Mr. Jansa said, “Striving for freedom is a universal desire, but it doesn’t often come free.”

He recalled the wars for independence by the former Yugoslav republics in the 1990s, adding that the “striving [for democracy] was suppressed in a most brutal manner in our neighborhood.”

The Slovenian delegation began its U.S. visit earlier this month with a visit to Cleveland, which has a large Slovenian-American population.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Tomorrow

• Foreign Minister Winston Peters of New Zealand, who meets with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and other members of Congress on his two-day visit.

• Carlos Villegas, Bolivia’s minister for planning and development, who addresses the Inter-American Dialogue.

• Akbar Ganji, Iran’s most famous dissident, who holds an 11 a.m. press conference at the offices of Amnesty International, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

• Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s former defense chief, who attends a conference of Christians United for Israel.

Wednesday

• William Maley, professor and director of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University, who participates in a briefing on Afghanistan at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

• Manuel Perez Rocha of the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade, who participates in a panel discussion on the Mexican elections at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Thursday

• Kamal Chenoy of India’s Jawahar Lal Nehru University; Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema of Pakistan’s Qaid-e-Azam University; Ajaz-ul Haq, federal minister of Pakistan; President Sardar Anwar Khan of Azad Kashmir; Gohar Ayub Khan, former foreign minister of Pakistan; and Yasin Malik of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front. They are among the participants at the sixth International Kashmir Conference at the Rayburn House Office Building.

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


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