- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Aiding Jordan

The U.S. ambassador to Jordan has been busily channeling financial aid to the key Middle East ally over the past two days, with multimillion grants for economic reform and security assistance.

Ambassador David Hale yesterday signed two grants totaling $141 million for debt relief and water projects. On Sunday, he signed agreements for $78 million, mostly for military aid, security equipment and anti-terrorist training.

The deal announced yesterday includes $116 million to reduce Jordan’s foreign debt.

“The grant will also enable the Jordanian government to advance its judicial and legislative reforms, implement a number of financial reform policies and put in place a medical liability law,” the embassy said.

The second grant of $25 million will help improve Jordan’s ability to manage crucial water projects and encourage conservation efforts with a project to enhance the recycling of industrial wastewater.

Mr. Hale said the two grants will “support King Abdullah’s vision for equal opportunities for all Jordanians.”

The grant signed on Sunday will provide $67.7 million for police equipment and anti-terrorism training and for military aid to help secure Jordan’s borders, the embassy said. The remaining $10.3 million will fund health and education projects.

That package was approved recently with strong bipartisan support in Congress and signed into law by President Bush on May 24. The money is to be disbursed by the end of this month.

Jordan is a key U.S. ally in the Middle East and is the second Arab nation, after Egypt, to open diplomatic relations with Israel.

Tracking diplomats

When diplomats leave Washington, those of us inside the Beltway tend to lose touch with them. Perhaps we Washingtonians think we are the center of the universe and that those dearly departed diplomats have had the misfortune to pass on somewhere.

Or we might try to keep track of them.

Noel Fahey, Ireland’s affable ambassador here since 2002, presented his diplomatic credentials yesterday to Pope Benedict XVI as Dublin’s new envoy to the Vatican.

The pope took the occasion to express his hope that the Northern Irish peace process will serve as an example in other conflicts.

“It is my fervent prayer that the peace, which is already bringing renewal to the North, will inspire political and religious leaders in other troubled zones,” he told Mr. Fahey.

Martin Eichtinger, the popular press spokesman at the Austrian Embassy from 1992 to 1999, returned to Vienna after Washington and worked his way up through the Foreign Ministry. He was appointed ambassador to Romania last month.

French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, here from 2003, recently returned to Paris to serve as senior diplomatic adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy. Ambassador Pierre Vimont replaced Mr. Levitte earlier this month.

At the British Embassy, Ambassador David Manning is preparing to hand over his authority to Nigel Scheinwald, foreign-policy adviser to former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mr. Manning, a career diplomat, is retiring.

His predecessor, Ambassador Christopher Meyer, returned to London to head the Press Complaints Council, an independent agency that deals with media mischief. He might have the best job of any retired ambassador.

“He works two days a week and makes 140,000 pounds,” said one British diplomat.

That’s about $280,000 a year.

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

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