New US Ambassador Confirmed by Senate

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed William Heidt, a career diplomat, as the country’s next ambassador to Cambodia, the U.S. Embassy said Thursday.

Mr. Heidt will replace William Todd, who was sworn in as the U.S. ambassador to Cambodia in April 2012 and will be taking up a “leadership position at the State Department,” according to U.S. Embassy spokesman Jay Raman. “Ambassador Todd is scheduled to depart in mid-August. We don’t have an arrival date for Mr. Heidt,” Mr. Raman said in an email.

During his confirmation hearing in June, Mr. Heidt said promoting fair elections would be among his priorities in Cambodia, also raising concerns over the draft NGO law.

On numerous occasions over the past three years, the Cambodian government has blasted Ambassador Todd for supposedly meddling in its sovereign affairs with critical remarks on issues of human rights and democracy in the country.

Mr. Heidt, who worked at the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh in the late 1990s, was most recently the executive assistant to the State Department’s undersecretary for economic growth, energy and the environment.

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