16 December 2011

Tunisia: New U.S. Ambassador

U.S. President Barack Obama announced yesterday, December 14, through a White House press release, his intention to appoint a new US ambassador to Tunisia.

The White House's official website mentioned candidates proposed for key administrative posts, including the Republic of Tunisia.

"Our nation will be greatly served by the talent and expertise these individuals bring to their new roles. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead," Obama asserted.

The new US ambassador to Tunisia is expected to be Jacob Walles, a U.S. diplomat holding the rank of Minister Counselor. Jacob Walles, originally from Wilmington, Delaware, graduated from Wesleyan University and holds a degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University.

Walles has been working for the US Department for more than 20 years now. He served in a number of posts involving Middle Eastern Affairs, including special assistant for the Middle East peace process in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and First Secretary at the US embassy in Tel Aviv.

He was the deputy principal officer at the US Consulate in Jerusalem from 1996 to 1998. He later worked as the director of the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs from 1998 to 2001. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs between January and June, 2001. He previously served as a US Counselor General and Chief of Mission in Jerusalem from July 2005 to August 2009.

Gordon Gray, the current U.S. ambassador to Tunisia, was confirmed by

the Senate on July 10, 2009 to his post. He has almost 30 years experience in the Foreign Service, primarily in positions dealing with the Middle East. Gray succeeded career diplomat Robert F. Godec.

Since the opening of the U.S. embassy in Tunis, only career diplomats have held this post.

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