WASHINGTON: The US Senate on Saturday approved veteran diplomat Richard Olson as the new American ambassador to Pakistan.
President Barack Obama had nominated Olson and Robert Stephen Beecroft as ambassadors to Pakistan and Iraq respectively in June this year. Their appointment, though was subject to the Senate’s approval.
On Saturday, a voice vote in the Senate favoured the appointments of the nominees.
The appointment of Olson, a 30-year veteran of the State Department who was envoy to the United Arab Emirates between 2008 and 2011, meanwhile will aim to turn a page in diplomatic relations with Islamabad.
The outgoing American ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, resigned in May after a turbulent tenure in which a covert US forces raid killed Osama bin Laden near a major military academy, humiliating the country’s powerful army.
Until June Olson served in the US embassy in Kabul as the coordinator for development and economic affairs, a key priority for Washington as the United States prepares to withdraw its forces.
Beecroft has served at the US embassy in Baghdad since July 2011, first as the deputy chief of mission and from June this year as the charge d’affaires.
Earlier he was US ambassador to Jordan 2008-2011, and has held positions at the American embassies in Saudi Arabia and Syria.
In mid-June Obama’s original pick for the Iraq job, Brett McGurk, withdrew his candidacy after the revelation of racy emails sent in 2008 between the married diplomat, then stationed in Baghdad, and Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon. The two are now married.