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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Obama appoints Veteran Diplomat for Africa Affairs

Nairobi, Kenya - US President Barack Obama has appointed former US ambassador to Kenya, Johnnie Carson, as the new Under-Secretary of State for Africa affairs, replacing Jendayi Fraser, who served in the same office under the George Bush administration.

However, the US Senate will vet the appointment before a final confirmation is made on the new appointee, a reputed American diplomat whose latest posting to Kenya as ambassador between 1999 and 2003, saw him earn a top award for his war against HIV/AIDS.

Ambassador Carson, an African-American, left a reputation as a tough and firm diplomat who kept the Kenyn government on toes during his tenure as America’s top diplomat in Kenya. He served during President Daniel Arap Moi’s regime.

President Obama said Carson and a group of senior administration officials joined his administration “at a critical time” its history with an economic crisis over the nation and with efforts to keep America strong at home and abroad during the economic crisis.

“This group of American public servants joins my administration at a critical ju ncture of our nation’s history,” President Obama was quoted as saying in a statement dated 20 March and obtained here Monday.

Ambassador Carson, a top diplomat with more than 37 years of experience serving at various ambassadorial postings in Africa, including Uganda, where he was the US ambassador (1991-1994). He also served as US ambassador to Zimbabwe in 1995-97.

Before his latest posting, ambassador Carson was a top spy officer at the US National Intelligence Council, where he has been serving since 2006.

He joined the service after a 37-year long career in the American Foreign Service.

Ambassador Carson’s toughest job would be to lead the US policy on Darfur, coming in the wake of the issuance of an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir.

The US is not a state party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and cannot enforce any decision made by the court.

But Washington has voiced its support for the arrest of the Sudanese leader and warned that he would be held responsible for further deaths in Darfur following the expulsion of aid agencies in Darfur.

President Obama said he would rely on the counsel of the team of experts he has appointed, including Carson, to make judgments on African affairs.
Nairobi - 23/03/2009


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