Inauguration 'Fun' for Diplomats

Published January 20, 2005

| Associated Press

True to their diplomatic nature, the world's ambassadors put aside any differences with the United States for one day to watch President Bush (search) sworn in for a second term.

Washington's diplomatic corps met for coffee at the State Department on the west side of the city, where buses waited to take them to the swearing-in across town at the Capitol.

"It's a great day always for the United States, full of tradition ... that is wonderful to watch," said Colombia's Ambassador Luis Alberto Moreno (search), who mentioned Bush's November trip to his country.

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Asked about widespread international opposition to Bush's policies, Moreno smiled and said: "As a true diplomat I only talk about relations between my country and the United States."

"It's a very wonderful day, important day for the United States and for the people of the hemisphere," said Jamaican Ambassador Gordon Shirley (search). "We are pleased to join in the celebration."

Later, they heard Bush say in his inaugural speech: "Allies of the United States can know we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel and we depend on your help."

Like Austria's Ambassador Eva Nowotny (search), some diplomats expected to participate from morning to night in events that she said combined work with pleasure as the United States went through its historic transition of government.

After the swearing-in, ambassadors were invited to a luncheon, to view the parade and to an evening ball.

"It is partly an obligation that comes with our job here ... the diplomats represent their states," Nowotny said on Wednesday.

"But of course, for somebody who is involved in this country it's a big moment ... it's interesting and it's also fun," she said, adding that the oath of office in front of the Capitol, with America crowds present is "symbolic of American democracy and ... an impressive ceremony."

Australian Ambassador Michael Thawley (search) said earlier that he also would attend several events.

The Romanian Embassy said Ambassador Dumitru Sorin Ducaro (search) also was playing host at a pre-ball reception at his embassy for other diplomats before dropping in at the Freedom Ball at Washington's Union Station, the main evening event to which diplomats have been invited this year.

Canadian diplomats — with their embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue — had a front-row seat for the parade.

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