Sunday, June 4, 2006

Congo complaint

A former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is outraged over today’s scheduled White House visit by the president of the Republic of Congo, whom he calls a “corrupt, Marxist dictator.”

Kenneth Adelman, U.N. ambassador under President Reagan, warns that President Bush is “endangering [his] historic legacy” by meeting with President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, who grabbed power in a military coup in 1997 and won a seven-year term in a disputed election in 2002.

In a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday, Mr. Adelman said he respected Mr. Bush’s call for worldwide democracy in his second inaugural speech and the message that “every dictator in the world had to fear American disapproval.”

“How then can the likes of Sassou-Nguesso — given his long record of brutality, Marxist politics and stunning rip-offs — be given the biggest prize of American approval: a White House meeting with the president?” he asked.

Mr. Adelman cited a Freedom House report that ranked Congo “partly free” and noted gradual improvements in human rights in a government that, nevertheless, remains deeply mired in corruption. The latest State Department human rights report said Congo’s record “remained poor” and pointed to limits on press freedom, arbitrary arrests, domestic violence and trafficking in human beings.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


• Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank; and Toshiro Muto, deputy governor of the Bank of Japan. They participate in a panel discussion at a conference sponsored by the American Bankers Association.

• Mia Horn af Rantzien, Sweden’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization, who joins a panel discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

• Alan Kyerematen, Ghana’s minister of trade, industry, private sector and presidential special initiatives; and Mandisi Mpahlwa, South Africa’s minister of trade and industry. They address the African Growth and Opportunity Act Private Sector Forum organized by the Corporate Council on Africa. Mr. Mpahlwa holds a 5 p.m. press conference at the Hilton Washington hotel.


• Former Cuban political prisoners Fernando Cepero, Ernesto Diaz, Bacilio Guzman, Eleno Oviedo and Cary Roque. They join Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Florida Republicans, to screen a documentary on political prisoners, “Plantados,” at noon in Room 2203 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

• John McCarthy of the Canadian National Energy Board, who participates in a briefing on Canadian oil sands at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

• Ibrahim Gambari, U.N. undersecretary-general for political affairs, who participates in a discussion on Sudan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


• Theodore Skylakakis, secretary-general for international economic relations and development cooperation in the Greek Foreign Ministry. He addresses the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

• Hans Blix, director of the Swedish government’s international independent commission on weapons of mass destruction. He addresses the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

• Boris Begovic, vice president of Serbia’s Center for Liberal-Democratic Studies, who addresses the Center for International Private Enterprise and the International Forum for Democratic Studies.


• President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, who will be honored at a dinner hosted by the White House Project.


• Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark, who meets with President Bush.

• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail

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