The White House has tapped a career diplomat to fill a nine-month vacancy as ambassador to Egypt in a routine but necessary step towards smoothing its stormy relationship with Cairo.
The choice of Stephen Beecroft comes after several weeks of visits to Washington by high-level Egyptian officials seeking a new start with the United States after a presidential election in the Arab nation later this month.
Beecroft is ambassador to Iraq, where he has been since October 2012 after serving as the top US envoy to neighbouring Jordan. The current ambassador in Amman, Stuart Jones, is to be nominated to replace Beecroft in Baghdad.
The ambassador's job in Cairo has been empty since August, when now-assistant secretary of state Anne Patterson returned to Washington to head the State Department's Mideast desk. Patterson had been in Cairo for two years and was the target of much criticism from Egyptians who accused her of taking sides in the country's political tumult. It is believed Egypt's leaders will accept Beecroft's planned nomination, which must be confirmed by the Senate.