President Barack Obama  has nominated a seasoned diplomat, Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley to serve as US Ambassador to Malta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced today.

Speaking after talks with Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi at the Auberge de Castille, Mrs Clinton heaped praise on the government and people of Malta for their counsel and role during the course of the unfolding events in Libya over the past months.

She said that Malta’s response to the events in North Africa had been extraordinary . The prime minister and many people in Malta had also gone the extra mile to ensure the safe evacuation of American embassy staff from Tripoli, she said.

Her visit to Malta, Mrs Clinton said, was an opportunity for her to reaffirm the strong friendship and partnership which exist between Malta the United States.

The new ambassador is a career diplomat who currently serves as deputy coordinator for policy programmes and budget in the Office of the Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism.

She was previously director of the Office of Egypt and the Levant and was chairwoman for Middle Eastern Studies at the Foreign Service Institute.

She was also Consul General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and also served in the US Mission to the United Nations. She was also political officer in the US embassy in Tel Aviv with responsibility for the Gaza Strip and also served as consul in Baghdad.

The new ambassador succeeds Douglas Kmiec, who resigned early in summer after disagreement with the State Department regarding his contributions to the press on religious issues.

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