- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 8, 2009

AFRICAN RUMORS

The new U.S. ambassador to Tanzania is trying to dispel rumors that the Obama administration wants to open a military base in the East African nation where terrorists attacked the U.S. Embassy in 1998.

“Nobody is talking about establishing a military base of any kind in Tanzania or, for that matter, anywhere else in Africa,” Ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt told Tanzania’s This Day newspaper.

“It’s a rumor. It has no basis. It doesn’t make sense. It flies in the face of the things we are trying to do.”

The rumors appear to have developed because Mr. Lenhardt is a retired Army major general. He presented his diplomatic credentials to President Jakaya Kikwete on Nov. 12.

In the interview published Monday, Mr. Lenhardt also discussed U.S.-Tanzanian cooperation in counterterrorism programs and warned that terrorists threaten global security.

“Terrorism is not just directed at any particular country and/or particular people,” he said. “Terrorist incidents occur anywhere in the world. There is one thing we have discovered: that terrorism is unpredictable.”

However, the goal of the terrorist is quite predictable, Mr. Lenhardt said.

“We cannot allow these terrorists to run our lives,” he said. “In a democracy, you must have the ability to do your work in an open framework. The worst thing that can happen is that we want to protect ourselves with walls and gates and all matter of things. We want to be as open as possible.”

The new U.S. Embassy, built behind a perimeter security wall, is located on a 22-acre site of an old drive-in theater. The old embassy was destroyed in a terrorist attack on Aug. 7, 1998, that killed 11 people and wounded 85. A simultaneous attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kenya killed 212, including 12 Americans, and injured about 4,000.

TRAVELING ENVOYS

Canadian Gary Doer and American David Jacobson are on the road to learn as much as possible and as quickly as possible about each other’s country.

As Canada’s ambassador to the United States, Mr. Doer says he is determined to get out of Washington to promote Canada’s message across the country.

As the U.S. ambassador to Canada, Mr. Jacobson, who arrived in Ottawa in October, just finished visiting the country’s 10 provinces, from Newfoundland on the Atlantic seaboard to British Columbia on the Pacific.

“There are no two countries in the world that have a closer relationship than the United States and Canada,” he said Friday in Toronto. “Part of my role here is to see to it that both the Canadian people understand that, and I can relate their views back to the government.”

On many of his stops, Mr. Jacobson heard complaints from business executives about U.S. protectionist trade policies in the stimulus bill.

Meanwhile, Mr. Doer, who arrived in Washington last month, spent time last week visiting Vermont, a state dependent on trade with Canada.

“Trade is an ongoing opportunity and an ongoing challenge,” Mr. Doer told reporters.

On his travels throughout the country, he plans to emphasize the amount of business Canada does with each state he visits. Canada is Vermont’s largest foreign market, accounting for nearly $5 billion in exports last year.

DEATH OF A DIPLOMAT

William Wilson, a political confidant of President Reagan’s and the first U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. He was 95.

Mr. Reagan appointed Mr. Wilson as a special presidential envoy to the Holy See in 1981 and as ambassador in 1984, after the United States established diplomatic relations with the papal state.

Mr. Wilson was also a close supporter of Mr. Reagan’s from the early 1960s.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected] washingtontimes.com.

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