Bush To Pick Career Diplomat for Ambassador

US President George W Bush in­tends to nominate Joseph Mus­someli, a senior career diplomat sta­­tioned in the Philippines, to be the next US ambassador to Cam­bo­dia, the US Embassy in Phnom Penh confirmed Thursday.

If he gets the job, the outspoken Mussomeli would replace current Am­­bassador Charles Ray, who has largely avoided the media spotlight in Cambodia.

It is too early to predict when Mus­­someli will arrive if he gets the job, the embassy said.

On April 12, Mussomeli, who is currently deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Manila, made international headlines when he was summoned by the Filipino government and handed a diplo­ma­tic protest over remarks he made on television that the restive south of that country risked turning into “an Afghanistan situation,” Fox News reported.

The Filipino Department of For­eign Affairs called some of his com­­ments “grossly inaccurate [and] patently unfair.”

Mussomeli, who has also work­ed in Morocco and Bahrain, said there was “absolutely nothing to apologize for,” Fox News said.

Mussomeli has also been in­volved with the US Rewards for Jus­tice Program, which rewarded in­formants of terrorist activities.

He has also spoken out strongly on corruption in the Philippines.

An outspoken US ambassador would be welcome among Cam­bo­dia’s human rights community, Lao Mong Hay of the Center for So­cial Development said Thurs­day.

As the world’s main superpower and Cambodia’s biggest trading partner, “America does have leverage [over the government] if it is willing to use it,” Lao Mong Hay said.

 

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