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Preview: - Nora Boustany - Diplomatic Dispatches ( - Nora Boustany - Diplomatic Dispatches (

Nora Boustany's Diplomatic Dispatches column appears twice weekly in The Washington Post. Read Diplomatic Dispatches for the latest news from the Washington-based diplomatic community.


Even on an Easy Day, Negotiating the Hard Line

Fri, 21 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

During a round of talks with North Korea over the abduction of Japanese citizens, Akitaka Saiki , a Japanese negotiator, pounded the table in frustration. The North Koreans reciprocated with the same gesture. When he threatened to leave, they told him to go right ahead.

Prison to Playhouse: Director Hopes To Bring N. Korean Exposé to U.S.

Wed, 19 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

To get "Yoduk Story" produced, the director had to put his kidney up for collateral.

July's Calm Disrupted by Stormy Events

Fri, 14 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

In mid-July, Embassy Row usually quiets down as occupants retreat to their home capitals to sip lemonade in the shade or escape to a favored vacation spot. But Washington's diplomatic world was in the grip of high drama this week with the resignation of Colombian ambassador Andrés Pastrana and the Lebanese government's decision to recall its ambassador, Farid Abboud .

Slovenia's Energy-Minded Premier Shares Hopes for a Solution on Iran

Wed, 12 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Iran was high on the agenda of Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa , who made his first visit to Washington as head of government this week and is hoping to help mediate efforts to bring Tehran on board with a package of proposals regarding its nuclear capability.

Before Graceland, A Less-Publicized Stop At Walter Reed

Fri, 07 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Loving tender and holding tight are about more than Elvis for Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi . Beneath the spontaneity and flamboyance that his countrymen sum up as Koizumi Theater lies heartfelt compassion.

Colombian Envoy's Title Is New, but Mission Is Same

Wed, 05 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

As Colombian President Andr?s Pastrana drove back from the remote jungles and highlands after a historic meeting with guerrillas linked to the drug trade in the summer of 1998, he caught a glimpse of a low-flying eagle.

A Legacy in Progress

Fri, 30 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Former Colombian president Andrés Pastrana , who has survived nine assassination attempts, multiple death threats, a kidnapping and a controversial career, is back in the trenches.

Rights Activists Come Knocking At the Iranian Interests Section

Wed, 28 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Iranian diplomats at the Iranian Interests Section on Wisconsin Avenue listened courteously to a delegation of prominent individuals who came calling last Friday to protest the detention of Iranian professor and philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo . But the envoys offered no explanation for the arrest or word of when the prisoner might go free.

U.S. Filmmakers Help Bring AIDS Out of the Shadows in China

Fri, 23 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Two Americans interested in the stigma that AIDS patients face in China started out on a filmmaking journey with goodwill and naivete and ended up with a haunting, award-winning documentary.

House of Sweden, Not Just a Dream

Wed, 21 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Who said diplomats can't be dreamers?

A Ugandan Lawyer's Passage From Skeptical Little Girl to 'Pleader for Women'

Fri, 16 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

By the time she was 7, Miria Matembe was already aware of the unfairness women and girls endured in Uganda.

A Trail From Jordan to Zarqawi

Wed, 14 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

When Ziad Khalaf al-Kerbouly was captured in Iraq three weeks ago by the Knights of Justice, or Fursan al-Haq , a unit operating under Jordan's General Intelligence Directorate, insurgents played down the arrest and described him as a "small-timer," according to Jordan's ambassador to Washington, Karim Kawar .

A Poet Who 'Never Sold Her Pen or Soul'

Sat, 10 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

The voice of poet Simin Behbahani rises, soothing the wounds of Iranians betrayed by a revolution that has curtailed their rights and failed to deliver social justice.

Running Start for Libyan Mission

Wed, 07 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

A li Suleiman Aujali , the chief of the Libyan Liaison Office here, has not been installed as Libya's new ambassador to the United States, but his nine-diplomat mission in the Watergate building has been busy receiving the first high-level delegation of Libyan officials since the normalization of diplomatic and economic ties between Tripoli and Washington was announced last month.

A Transatlantic Conference Tackles Migration's Challenges

Fri, 26 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Many countries are grappling with the complex legal and social issues concerning migration. While Americans debate bilingualism, loyalty and homogeneity, some politicians in Germany fear that a failure to integrate immigrants into society through adequate language training may lead to social problems.

In Iran's Ambition, Israel's Dark Cloud

Wed, 24 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

D avid Landau , editor in chief of the Israeli daily Haaretz, said Monday that Israel hoped to link its need for a stronger defense against the Iranian nuclear threat to its stated willingness to pull out of more occupied Palestinian land.

Saudi Envoy Reconvenes Fellow Georgetown Alumni on the Potomac

Fri, 19 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

It was a contemporary Arabian Nights setting, complete with Saudi princes and the air of a fairy tale. Hosting his first major bash as Saudi ambassador at his sprawling residence in McLean, Prince Turki al-Faisal honored his visiting brother, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal . After an hour-long meet-and-greet reception near the entrance to the house, everyone proceeded out back for the main event.

CARE's Envoy to the Powerful and the Poor

Wed, 17 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Physician Helene Gayle may have been born with a gift for empathy. It was the trait that was nurtured by her family and has guided her work on child malnutrition, HIV/AIDS and diseases among the poor.

Bridging Bosnia's Many Divides

Fri, 12 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

For the women of Mostar, surviving a war is not the end of the story. With trauma and scars still raw, they are trying to reweave their social fabric and move beyond their differences.

Rebuilding a Life and Then a Country

Wed, 10 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

It fell to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala , barely 13 at the start of the Nigeria-Biafra war, to save her baby sister, struck down with malaria. Her father had joined the Biafran army, and her mother was too ill and weak to tend to her sick child.

At the U.N., a Bid to Reform and Fears of a Rift

Fri, 05 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

The U.N. undersecretary general for communications said yesterday that a recent vote to delay action on a U.S.-backed effort to allow more managerial flexibility at the United Nations threatened to divide the institution. He also said the dispute was more about power than reform.

Plumbing the Depths of Indian Widowhood

Wed, 03 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

It was 11 years ago, but the image of a widow's wretchedness etched itself into the soul of Deepa Mehta , the Indian-born filmmaker who has made a career of deconstructing India's darkest taboos in sparse cinematic works of art.

Risking His Life for Grass-Roots Environmentalism

Sat, 29 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

S ilas Kpanan'Ayuong Siakor is more than an environmental hero. He helped save a nation.

AIDS Crisis Shapes Bishop's Stance

Wed, 26 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

South African Bishop Kevin Dowling knows where his dissenting views come from. He supports access to condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS because of his work in the slums of Rustenburg, home to the richest platinum mines in the world.

Skills Honed in Washington Pay Off for Swede at the U.N.

Fri, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Less than one year into his job as president of the U.N. General Assembly, former Swedish ambassador Jan Eliasson admits that "Washington is more fun."

Sri Lankan Steers Parents to Peace After Loss in War

Wed, 19 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

After five years of trying to get information about her son, missing after a fierce battle in the heart of rebel territory in Sri Lanka, Visaka Dharmadasa learned that 500 bodies of soldiers had been doused with kerosene and burned in a pile on the killing field where they had fought Tamil separatists.

Fighting Back in Bangladesh

Fri, 14 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

R eaz Rahman , foreign affairs adviser to the government of Bangladesh, visited Washington this week to try to allay concerns over latent Islamic militancy and to update officials on the arrests of radical leaders and their followers as political unrest continues in the country.

A Healer Drawn Home to Congo

Wed, 12 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

It is an instinctive transition for Oscar Kashala . The Congolese-born doctor has had a long, lucrative career healing people through the precision of scientific research, and now through government he hopes to heal his countrymen.

In Releasing Writer, Kurds Ponder Press Freedom

Fri, 07 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

A representative for Iraq's regional Kurdish government said Thursday in Washington that the prosecution of an Iraqi-born Kurd with Austrian citizenship had been mishandled and that his sentence was disproportionate to the wrong he committed.