Obama names envoys to Turkey, Syria, Azerbaijan bypassing Congress

Obama has bypassed the Senate and directly appointed four new U.S. ambassadors whose nominations had been stalled or blocked by Republican lawmakers for months.

Obama names envoys to Turkey, Syria,  Azerbaijan bypassing Congress

President Barack Obama has bypassed the Senate and directly appointed four new U.S. ambassadors whose nominations had been stalled or blocked by Republican lawmakers for months.

Obama on Wednesday temporarily appointed U.S. ambassadors to Syria, Turkey and Azerbaijan, restoring a top U.S. envoy to Damascus after an absence of nearly six years.

The White House announced Obama would make "recess appointments" of Robert Stephen Ford as ambassador to Syria, Francis "Frank" Ricciardone as ambassador to Turkey and Matthew Bryza as ambassador to Azerbaijan.

President Obama, using his special authority, appointed Ricciardone during the recess in legislative year at the U.S. Senate.

Ricciardone, who had been previously nominated for the ambassador's office in Ankara, could not start his duty earlier as the Senate had not been approving his appointment for a long time.

In the previous legislative term, the ambassador's taking the post was blocked by Republican Senator Sam Brownback.

According to the U.S. Constitution, appointments to key positions such as ambassadors need an approval from the Senate. However, the U.S. President has the authority to make appointments to these posts temporarily during congressional recess.

Ricciardone's appointment is expected to be approved during the new legislative term at the Senate and within a year's time.

"Who is Turkey envoy?"

Ricciardone, a diplomat who knows Turkey closely, carried out various duties in Turkey previously and has a good command of Turkish language.

Ricciardone has served since 2009 as Deputy Ambassador and Charge d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. He also served as ambassador to Egypt until
2008, and ambassador to the Philippines and concurrently to Palau.

Ambassador Ricciardone began his career in Ankara and Adana, Turkey. He served twice again in Turkey: as political advisor to the U.S. and Turkish commanders of Operation Provide Comfort at Incirlik Air Force Base, and as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d'Affaires. He led the transition to an organization of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in 2004 during occupation, and the Department of State's Task Force in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. He also served as former Secretary Albright's Special Representative for the Transition of Iraq from 1999-2001.

The ambassador, who graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1973, knows Italian, French and Arabic in addition to Turkish.

A Senate source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the recess appointments for the three ambassadors were likely to last for a year.

The White House is vexed by what it sees as unnecessary and unprecedented Republican-led delays in getting nominees for administration posts confirmed.

An official said the nominees named on Wednesday, six in total including posts such as deputy attorney general, had been pending for an average of 147 days or almost five months.

Agencies

Last Mod: 30 Aralık 2010, 09:57
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