- The Washington Times - Monday, July 13, 2009

HISTORY TOUR

French Ambassador Pierre Vimont is traveling through New England to promote France and its historical ties to the United States.

He stopped in Vermont on Friday to help celebrate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Lake Champlain by the 17th century French explorer Samuel de Champlain, who also founded Quebec City in Canada.

“Today, once again, Champlain reunited us to make possible yet another amicable encounter between American and French people in remembrance for their common past,” he said at a museum in Shelburne, Vt., which houses rare Indian relics from the Abenaki and Huron tribes.

On Saturday, Mr. Vimont stopped in upstate New York to tour parts of the Hudson River Valley, which includes portions of the route taken by George Washington and French general Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau on their 600-mile march to Yorktown, where the combined forces defeated the British in 1781.

RAINMAKER TO SPAIN

President Obama is reportedly set to nominate another big-time Democratic fundraiser for a coveted ambassadorship.

He is expected to name Alan Solomont, who raised $800,000 for his presidential campaign, as ambassador to Spain, according to a report in the Boston Herald over the weekend.

Mr. Solomont, owner of a Boston-based nursing-home corporation, is known as one of the Democratic Party’s biggest moneymen. Mr. Obama so far has picked more than a dozen top fundraisers for plum ambassadorships.

DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC

Foreign visitors in Washington this week:

Monday

Gilbert Maoundonodji, coordinator of the Group for Alternative Research and Monitoring of the Chad-Cameroon Petroleum Project. He discusses oil exploration in Chad at a briefing hosted by the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy.

Tuesday

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands, who meets President Obama.

Amin Fatimie, minister of public health of Afghanistan, and Pashtoon Azfar, president of the Afghan Midwives Association. They address health issues for women in Afghanistan in a forum sponsored by Women’s Policy Inc. and the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues at noon in Room 345 of the Cannon House Office Building.

Hidayat Nur Wahid, chairman of the People’s Consultative Council of Indonesia and an anti-corruption activist. He discusses the state of democracy in Indonesia in a forum sponsored by the U.S.-Indonesia Society.

Wednesday

Shin-Yuan Lai, minister of the Mainland Affairs Council of the Republic of China (Taiwan). She meets administration officials and members of Congress to discuss the current state of relations between Taiwan and China.

Mithat Balkan, a former Turkish ambassador to Iran and Austria; Saban Kardas of Turkey’s Sakarya University; Vladimir Milov, president of Russia’s Institute of Energy Policy; Victor Nadein-Raevsky of Russia’s Institute for World Economy and International Relations; and Volkan Vural, counselor to the chairman of Turkey’s Dogan Holdings conglomerate. They discuss Russia and regional energy issues in a forum sponsored by the Brookings Institution.

Thursday

Nick Sherry, assistant treasurer of Australia, who discusses Australia’s mandatory retirement system in a forum sponsored by the Retirement Security Project and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

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

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