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Published:May 3rd, 2006 06:49 EST
White House Report: Afghanistan; Costa Rica; Flu Plan; Darfur

White House Report: Afghanistan; Costa Rica; Flu Plan; Darfur

By SOP newswire

President Bush spoke with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and congratulated him on the approval of his Cabinet by the National Assembly, White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters May 2.  The new Cabinet members were sworn in May 2.

The two leaders also discussed the security situation in Afghanistan, lauding the outstanding performance of Canadian troops deployed in the south and looking forward to NATO deployments of British and Dutch troops that will occur over the summer.  They also discussed the increased efforts of Afghani police forces in the south.

Karzai and Bush addressed the importance of counternarcotics efforts and praised the political and economic progress achieved in Afghanistan. They also spoke about ongoing cooperation with Pakistan, McClellan said.

DELEGATION FOR COSTA RICAN PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION ANNOUNCED

President Bush announced members of the presidential delegation to attend the inauguration of ├ôscar Arias S├ínchez, as president of Costa Rica.  The delegation will travel to San José, Costa Rica, for the event on May 8.

First lady Laura Bush will lead the delegation, accompanied by Mark Langdale, U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica.

WHITE HOUSE TO RELEASE PANDEMIC INFLUENZA PLAN

The president will release America's pandemic influenza preparedness report on May 3.  This report will serve as a road map for how to implement strategies outlined in the November 2005 National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza.  (See related article.)

Congress appropriated $3.8 billion of the president's November 2005 $7 billion request for pandemic influenza planning preparation.  (See related article.)

The plan to be released on May 3 will turn principles from the November 2005 national strategy into actions in all federal departments and agencies, McClellan said. It will outline concrete steps for both government and nongovernment groups and operations.

BUSH NOMINATES AMBASSADORS TO MAURITANIA, UKRAINE, SWEDEN

President Bush intends to nominate Dawn M. Liberi to be U.S. ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.  A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Liberi currently serves as mission director at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Iraq.  She directed USAID missions in Nigeria and Uganda and also served as USAID associate assistant administrator in the Global Bureau, Population, Heath, and Nutrition office.

Bush also intends to nominate William B. Taylor Jr. as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.  Taylor, a career member of the Senior Executive Service, currently serves as senior consultant to the Coordinator of Reconstruction and Stabilization at the Department of State.  Prior to this, he served as the United States representative to the Quartet's Special Envoy for Disengagement in Jerusalem.  He also served as director of the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office in Baghdad, Iraq, and in Kabul, Afghanistan, coordinating international assistance.  Taylor received his bachelor's degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point and his master's degree from Harvard University.

The president also intends to nominate Michael Wood to be U.S. ambassador to Sweden.  Wood currently serves as chairman of Redwood Investments LLC, a company he founded in 2005.  Prior to this, he was chief executive officer of Hanley Wood LLC, a company he co-founded in 1976.  Wood received his bachelor's degree from Yale University.

The nominations must be reviewed and approved by the U.S. Senate.

DARFUR UPDATE

The United States is acting "on multiple fronts" to reverse the deteriorating situation in the Darfur region of Sudan, said press secretary McClellan.  President Bush called Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on May 1 to emphasize the importance of peace in Darfur.

In the phone call, Bush encouraged al-Bashir to send Sudanese Vice President Ali Tahal back to Abuja, Nigeria, for peace negotiations. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick currently is attending the Abuja talks to help advance the peace process.  (See related article.)

Bush hopes that the negotiations will reach a formal peace agreement, which involves integrating and disarming the Sudanese militias, said McClellan.  Northern and southern Sudanese military units need to join forces, he said.

The president also hopes that the peacekeeping mission currently run by the African Union can be turned into a "blue-hatted" mission directed by the United Nations and logistically supported by NATO.  McClellan said NATO currently supports the African Union peacekeeping mission through communications technology and air lifts.

For additional information, see Darfur Humanitarian Emergency.