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Friday, September 08, 2006

Left to right: Calvin Humphrey, the Governor’s foreign policy advisor, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and President Omar al-Bashir at the President's residence in Khartoum.

This just in from Gov. Richardson's office (which also supplied the photo)

“I am pleased to report that our negotiations were successful, and Paul Salopek will return home to New Mexico with me,” Governor Bill Richardson said today following his meeting with the Sudanese President. “I want to thank the Sudanese President Lt. General Umar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir, who was receptive to my request to release Paul Salopek and his colleagues based on humanitarian grounds. I emphasized to the President that releasing these men was the right thing to do because Paul Salopek is not a spy, he is my constituent and a respected journalist who was attempting to do his job telling the story of the people, culture and history of the sub-Saharan region known as the Sahel.
“The successful end to this unfortunate episode is a victory for journalism and a free press,” Governor Richardson said. “Most important, these three men will return home safely to be with their families, friends and colleagues who were relentless in their appeals to have them freed.”

I really wonder how Richardson is so succesful at freeing hostages, not to mention allowing foreign governments to have him have photos taken of such negotiations. I've spoken with the governor many times over the years and I just never really get this sense of him as a master diplomat. He's got a somewhat coercive style, but he's not particularly convincing (of course, there's never any real reason for him to convince me of anything. It would be interesting to be present for one of these negotiations. Obviously, it's a big relief that Salopek et. al will be released.
Also, do most US governors have foreign policy advisors?
Also, how come Richardson can negotiate international hostage releases but he couldn't keep Jeff Armijo out of the state auditor's race?