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Obama names new envoys to Afghanistan, Pakistan

July 18, 2012 11:11 IST

United States President Barack Obama has nominated two veteran diplomats to be the US ambassadors to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Almost two months after the incumbents resigned, Obama nominated James B Cunningham as the new US Ambassador to Afghanistan and Richard G Olson as the new envoy to Pakistan.

The move comes at a time of transition in war-torn Afghanistan and Washington's ongoing friction with Pakistan.

However, both need to be confirmed by the United States Senate before they can be sworn in for their new ambassadorial postings.

"I am grateful that these talented and dedicated men and women have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years," Obama said in a statement as he announced more than a dozen key administration posts including these two diplomatic positions.

Olson, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, served as the Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs at the US embassy in Kabul from June 2011 to June 2012.

He previously served as US Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011 and as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Brussels from 2006 to 2008.

Cunningham is currently the deputy ambassador at the US embassy in Kabul. Prior to his post in Kabul, Cunningham served as the US Ambassador to Israel from 2008 to 2011. From 2005 to 2008, he was the US Consul General in Hong Kong.

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