Ambassadress in Washington Claudia Fritsche

Ambassadress in Washington
Claudia Fritsche

exclusiv in an interview with Ambassadress Claudia Fritsche Principality of Liechtenstein Embassy in Washington

• Your Excellency, you have been
   the resident ambassadress
   in Washington since 1st October 2002.
   Your Excellency, what is your personal
   upshot after four years?

The Liechtenstein embassy in Washington is well-established. The contacts with the relevant authorities, especially with regard to the Department of State, Treasury Depart-ment and Department of Justice, are outstanding. A relationship network that existed only in a few approaches four years ago was able to be considerably expanded. However, continuous efforts are required to foster, solidify and expand this network, since a continuous change takes place - particularly in the civil service, but also in other areas.
To make Liechtenstein known beyond Washington in other parts of the USA and to present it as a country – like we would like to have it perceived and understood - is a continuous challenge. We would like to meet this challenge, among other things, with the help of  an honorary consular network to be established. It is to be repeatedly stated that the interest in Liechtenstein is considerable - starting with economic relations and extending to cultural exchange and tourism.

• Your Excellency, according to your
   personal assessment of the activity
   as a diplomat, where were you able
   to provide inspirations which were
   accepted and implemented?

Among the main duties in Washington are the contacts with the responsible US governmental agencies in the realm of financial services; this includes the struggle against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. In this respect we enjoy a very positive assessment on the part of the USA. The steps taken in the past years in Liechtenstein have contributed substantially to this appraisal. These measures include the introduction of exemplary obligations to take due care, as well as the installation of sweeping monitoring mechanisms; and moreover, the legal assistance agreement - which has functioned outstand-ingly since its entry into force.
Good relations with the U.S. Congress are indispensable for any country represented in Washington. On the one hand, the contacts with the members of the Senate and House of Representatives are established on the personal level; and on the other hand via the wide-ranging staff of every member of Congress. Public hearings of committees on relevant topics contributed to a better under- standing, and are regularly attended by the Liechtenstein embassy.
Insofar as the economy or the subsequently related public relations are    concerned, we have endeavoured to make Liechtenstein more well-known as an industrial location; on this score, the Liechtenstein economic success story is quite impressive. Liechtenstein is    well-known wherever Liechtenstein business enterprises are settled. Moreover, quite a few initial cultural accents were able to be set through   exhibitions by Liechtenstein artists in Washington and New York, poetry     recitals as well as in terms of gastronomy.

• Your Excellency, what are or were
   personally important moments
   in your activity as ambassadress?

The admission of Liechtenstein as a full member of the United Nations on 18th September 1990 was a very edifying moment, just like the admission to the Council of Europe on 23rd November 1978. The presentation of my credentials to President Bill Clinton in December of the year 2000 was impressive, since there is an opportunity at this event to hold a brief conversation with the president. Every successfully concluded endeavour is also among the important moments. Examples for this are Liechtenstein’s removal from the black list of «FATF» at that time, as well as the conclusion of the legal assistant agreement with the USA. In addition, there are satisfying moments which are much less dramatic. In my case, this includes the meetings with students in which I have the feeling to have given the young people something for their later life or to have at least encouraged them to think.

• Your Excellency, what does your time
   management look like, or how can
   the citizens of Liechtenstein envision
   your daily agenda and the activity
   as an ambassadress?

Regular discussions with desk office (in the American Department of State) that is responsible for Liechtenstein as well as the participation in events hosted by the various «think tanks» in Washington are also among the ambassadorial tasks; furthermore, this includes informal breakfast or lunch meetings with high-ranking officials and representatives of the Washington society. Visits to the embassy by student groups and lobby groups provide the opportunity to inform people about Liechtenstein. Lectures at schools, universities or roundtable discussions in a small setting serve the same purpose. Moreover, it is important to meet with non-traditional pro-tagonists in order to better understand developments «above all also socio-polit-ical developments» in the USA. Among these protagonists are artists, lobbyists and businesspeople just as well as one’s own neighbours and friends. Observing social obligations and even giving invitations are tasks of every embassy, also of the Liechtenstein embassy. The social setting is suitable for promotion of Liechtenstein’s image as well as for procurement of information.