Trump appoints new Ambassador to S. Sudan

United States President Donald Trump on Friday, 3rd August, named Thomas J. Hushek as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of South Sudan.

The nomination was forwarded to the Congress via Department of State on Friday and it was referred to US Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relation. Once confirmed, Mr. Thomas will succeed Ambassador Mary Catherine Phee.

Thomas Hushek has been serving as the acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO). As a career Foreign Service Officer, Mr. Hushek most recently served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the International Organizations in Vienna from 2013-2015.

According to the profile published on the website of the U.S. Department of State, the new ambassador also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Dushanbe, Tajikistan from 2006-2008, and Kolonia, Micronesia from 2002-2004.

He had several assignments in or focused on Afghanistan, as the Director for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement in Kabul from 2012-2013.

From 2014-2005, Mr. Hushek was a senior civilian representative at the Herat Provincial Reconstruction Team and Regional Command West and as Afghan Refugee Coordinator in Islamabad and Kabul from 1999-2002. Mr. Hushek’s early diplomatic postings included Khartoum, Sudan and Moscow, Russia.

At the Department of State in Washington, Mr. Hushek served as Director for Europe, Central Asia, and the America in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration from 2010-2012 and Director for Central Asia in the Bureau for South and Central Asian Affairs as from 2008-2010. He also served as Afghanistan/Pakistan desk officer from 1997-1999.

Other Washington assignments include; the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour. Mr. Hushek has degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. He is a native of Wisconsin State.

The United States Ambassador to South Sudan is the official representative of the President of the United States of America to the Republic of South Sudan. The U.S. government recognised South Sudan on its independence day, 9th July, 2011.

On the same day, the existing U.S. consulate accredited to the Republic of South Sudan in the capital Juba was upgraded to embassy.  Mr. Barrie Walkley, the U.S. Consul General in Juba was appointed to serve as Chargé d’ Affaires pending the appointment of a U.S. Ambassador to Juba.

The new U.S. embassy in Juba was inaugurated: by Mr. Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs; Ret. General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State; Dr. Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations; and Ambassador Barrie Walkley.

On 18th August 2011, President Barak Obama announced his intention to nominate Dr. Susan Page to be the first U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan. Dr. Page served in her role as U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan from October 2011 through July 2015. The current U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan is Ms. Mary Catherine Phee.

Once his nomination is endorsed by the US Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relation, Mr. Thomas Hushek will become the third U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan since independence.  He will also be the first U.S. ambassador to South Sudan appointed by the new President Donald Trump.

By Nichola Dominic Mandil

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