WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush will nominate Zalmay Khalilzad to be the U.S. envoy to the United Nations and veteran diplomat Ryan Crocker to replace him as ambassador to Iraq, the administration said yesterday.
Both changes had been revealed in news reports last week.
“If confirmed, Ryan and Zal will have two of the hardest and most consequential jobs in the world,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, announcing the changes. White House spokesman Tony Snow had confirmed the plans earlier yesterday.
Khalilzad, who was born in Afghanistan, has also served as ambassador to Afghanistan. He will replace John Bolton, who could not win Senate confirmation and resigned last month as his temporary appointment as U.N. ambassador was about to expire.
Crocker, a four-time ambassador who is now U.S. envoy to Pakistan, will replace Khalilzad in Baghdad.
Bush is shuffling his teams of military and diplomatic advisers as he plans to announce a new Iraq strategy tomorrow.
“The next two years may well be the most significant ones in this mission so far,” Rice said. “New challenges on the ground call for changes to our strategy.”
“There will be new leadership in both our military and our diplomatic efforts, and the person President Bush wants to lead Embassy Baghdad is Ryan Crocker,” she said.
Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander overseeing the military theater that includes Iraq, will be succeeded by Adm. William Fallon, now Abizaid’s counterpart in the Pacific.