- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 18, 2007

Packing for U.N.

Lynn Pascoe, in his last days as U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, praised the world’s most populous Muslim nation for its fight against Islamic terrorism, while assessing the challenges that await him as the first American to serve as the top political official at the United Nations.

“They have been making good progress on the counterterrorism side,” he told reporters in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. “There’s no question about the political will and that the police are capable of doing a good job on this subject.”

Indonesia has been attacked several times by terrorists who hit hotels in Jakarta and resorts on the island of Bali.

In his new position as U.N. secretary-general for political affairs, Mr. Pascoe will deal with political developments and crises around the world.

“There are incredible numbers of problems out there in the world that we have to solve,” he said in a press conference last week. “All of them have their complexities, and you have to solve each one as it comes up.”

Nevertheless, Mr. Pascoe insisted he is up to the challenge.

“I look very much forward to the job. I look very much forward to the challenge, and I look forward to meeting with the people that are there and trying to make the world a better place,” he said.

Mr. Pascoe dismissed questions about whether an American can serve in the position, saying he will be judged on his performance, not his nationality.

“With the U.N., the real question is the results,” he said. “How good are they? How good will we be at doing what the U.N. is supposed to be doing, solving problems, keeping down tension, solving conflicts when they occur?”

Mr. Pascoe, a career foreign service officer, knew the new U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, when both of them served in Washington. Mr. Ban was a top diplomat at the South Korean Embassy, while Mr. Pascoe held top positions at the State Department in the early 1990s.

“He really was a standout, one of the best diplomats in Washington at the time, and people knew that. Everybody thought he was excellent,” Mr. Pascoe said of Mr. Ban.

“He’s the kind of guy that is fairly quiet about the way he does things, but he really gets things done, and he moves them forward, and I think that’s going to be my thing, too.”

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


Lanxin Xiang, professor of international history and politics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. He discusses China’s relationship with Europe in a briefing at Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies.

• Jaroslav Koshiw, director of Britain’s Artemia Press, who discusses the political career of Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in a briefing at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


• Mark Entwistle, former Canadian ambassador to Cuba, who participates in a discussion on a post-Castro Cuba in a forum sponsored by the Council of the Americas.


• Peng Ming-Min, adviser to the president of Taiwan, who joins a panel discussion on Taiwan under Chiang Kai-shek at the Brookings Institution.


• Matthes Buhbe of the Moscow office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and Sonja Hegasy of the Berlin-based Center for Modern Oriental Studies. They speak at a forum on democracy sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the German Embassy and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation.

• Jorge Castaneda, former secretary of foreign affairs in Mexico, and Sergio Sarmiento, a well-known Mexican political analyst. They discuss the realignment of Mexico’s political party system in a briefing at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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

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