- The Washington Times - Friday, August 28, 2009

MEXICO MOURNS KENNEDY

While congressional Democrats are trying to save health care reform by rebranding it for Edward M. Kennedy, the Mexican ambassador says his country will remember the late Massachusetts senator for another of his passionate legislative goals: immigration reform.

“During a long and exceptional career in Congress that spanned over four decades, Sen. Kennedy sponsored and promoted countless initiatives in favor of millions of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans that live and work in this country,” Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan said Thursday.

Mr. Kennedy’s most ambitious immigration bill - co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and supported by President George W. Bush - failed in 2005 because it included provisions that opponents said promoted amnesty for illegal immigrants.

The bill was popular in Mexico.

Mr. Sarukhan said the “Mexican people fully recognized and are grateful for his efforts” on behalf of guest worker programs and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

“A descendant of Irish immigrant himself, Sen. Kennedy was an indefatigable defender of immigrants and immigrant rights in the U.S. Congress,” the ambassador said.

“His profound knowledge and rigorous analysis of this issue allowed him to invariably present practical solutions to confront the many challenges arising from this phenomenon without ever losing sight of its human dimension.”

Mr. Sarukhan added, “For all he did for Mexican-Americans, Mexicans and Mexico, he will be sorely missed on both sides of the border and remembered as a true friend of our country.”

ENVOY IN ROME

The new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican arrived in Rome on Thursday, promising to “deepen and expand” relations with the Holy See and ending a diplomatic melodrama over President Obama’s efforts to find an envoy acceptable to the Catholic city-state.

“I will be honored to serve President Obama and the American people in my new role, and it will be a unique honor to meet his holiness, Pope Benedict XVI,” Miguel Diaz said in a statement released by the U.S. Embassy.

“I welcome the opportunity to deepen and expand upon the special relationship that has evolved between the United States and the Vatican over the past 25 years of formal diplomatic ties.”

Mr. Diaz, who taught at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in Minnesota, is expected to present his diplomatic credentials to the pope when the pontiff returns to the Vatican from his summer villa outside Rome.

Mr. Obama nominated the 45-year-old Cuban-born theology professor after Vatican officials informally rejected two high-profile candidates, Caroline Kennedy and Douglas Kmiec, over their views on abortion, according to reports in prominent Italian newspapers.

Mrs. Kennedy is pro-choice, and the Vatican has never accepted a U.S. envoy who supported abortion. Mr. Kmiec, a law professor, is pro-life, but he angered many Catholics by urging them to support Mr. Obama, despite his support for abortion.

DIPLOMATIC DEFINITION

“A real diplomat is one who can cut his neighbor’s throat without having his neighbor notice it.” - Trygve Lie (1896-1968), a Norwegian politician and secretary-general of the United Nations from 1946 to 1952.

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

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