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February 2012

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Argentina

Jorge Argüello became ambassador of Argentina to the United States on Jan. 18, 2012 having most recently served as Argentina's permanent representative to the United Nations since 2007.

Prior to that, he was a national congressman from 2003 to 2007, during which time he served as president of the Foreign Relations Committee and president of the Parliamentary Observatory of the Malvinas Question. He was also vice president of the Permanent Commission on International Peace and Security with the Inter-Parliamentary Union. In addition, Ambassador Argüello served two three-year terms as a legislator of Buenos Aires (1997-2000 and 2000-03), becoming a member of the Constitutional Convention for the capital in 1996, and between 1991 and 1995, he served in the National Congress, organizing the first visits by British parliamentarians after the Malvinas conflict. Ambassador Argüello also represented Latin America at the Parliamentarians for Global Action (1994-95), a network of more than 1,300 legislators from 117 parliaments engaged in initiatives to promote democracy, peace, justice and development throughout the world. Ambassador Argüello began his government career in 1987 as a member of the City Council of Buenos Aires.

He has written numerous articles and books on political and citizen participation, and holds a master's degree in public administration and policy from the Universidad de San Andrés.

Austria

Walter Neumayer assumed the position of consul general on Oct. 3, replacing Gernot Wiedner.

Sigurd Pacher assumed the position of deputy chief of mission on Nov. 10, replacing Andreas Riecken, who departed the post Aug. 31.

Azerbaijan

Elin Suleymanov became ambassador of Azerbaijan to the United States on Jan. 18, 2012.

Most recently, for more than five years Ambassador Suleymanov had been the nation's first consul general to Los Angeles and the western U.S. states leading the team that established an Azerbaijani diplomatic presence on the West Coast. Prior to that, he served as senior counselor at the Foreign Relations Department in the Office of the President in Baku, Azerbaijan, and as press officer of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington, D.C. Before joining the diplomatic corps, Ambassador Suleymanov worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Azerbaijan, as well as with the Open Media Research Institute in Prague and Glaverbel Czech, a leading manufacturing company in Central Eastern Europe.

He has also authored numerous articles and is a frequent presenter at academic events. A graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Massachusetts, Ambassador Suleymanov also holds graduate degrees from the Political Geography Department of Moscow State University in Russia and the University of Toledo in Ohio.

He speaks Azerbaijani, English, Russian and Czech.

Cyprus

Neophytos J. Constantinou assumed the position of consul on Sept. 1, having previously served as deputy head of the Crisis Management Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cyprus during the Arab Spring protests.

Ecuador

Nathalie Cely Suárez became ambassador of Ecuador to the United States on Jan. 18, 2012.

Ambassador Cely previously served as president of the Council of Production and a member of the Government Council at the Ministry of Coordination of Production, Employment and Competitiveness (2009-11), as well as president of the Council of Social Development and a member of the Government Council at the Ministry of Coordination of Social Development (2007-09). She was also president of Edúcate, an organization that works to improve the quality of education and employability of vulnerable communities through information technology, and president of Stratega, which works for the economic inclusion of micro and small businesses (2003-07). In 2002, Ambassador Cely founded Stratega BDS, a consulting firm specializing in issues related to economic development and the local development of information technologies. In addition, she was a research and teaching assistant at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard (2001-02), director of the Reform Unit of the National Council for the Modernization of the State (1999-2000), and director of the Bono Solidario program with Consejo Nacional de Modernización del Estado (1998-99), designing and implementing a cash subsidy that targeted the poorest populations in Ecuador, among other dutues.

She is also the author of numerous publications that can be viewed on www.nathaliecely.com.

Ambassador Cely received a bachelor's degree in economics from the Universidad Católica de Guayaquil in Ecuador, a master's degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and was a Ph.D. candidate in economics and development from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO).

Ghana

Alex O. Adu departed the post of minister counselor, consul on Oct. 5, having served at the embassy as vice consul from 2007 to 2009 and head of the Consular/Welfare Section from 2009 to 2011.

Mavis Akpabla assumed the position of vice consul, first secretary on Oct. 3, having previously worked at the Africa Desk at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ghana.

William Anani-Abotsi assumed the position of minster-counselor (economic) on Nov. 1, having previously served as deputy director of the Office of the President of Ghana, where he was also a foreign affairs liaison.

Peter Boateng departed the post of counselor (economic) on Nov. 30.

Lesotho

Molapi Sebatane became ambassador of Lesotho to the United States on Nov. 2, 2012 replacing Ambassador Mohlomi Rantekoa, who departed the post June 2.

Ambassador Sebatane has more than 35 years of experience in higher education, both as an academic and administrator, serving for 10 years as a member of the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Governing Council as well as in major committees and boards of the university, where he was also a professor of education, pro-vice chancellor and acting chancellor. In addition, Ambassador Sebatane, who was also a visiting professor at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, has undertaken more than 50 research studies and produced 30 publications that include journals, books, book reviews and monographs.

He has also taken part in several policy-related activities, such as the Business Council of Lesotho, the Lesotho National Planning Board and Education Sector Survey Task Force, as well as serving as a chairperson of the Lesotho Technical Committee for the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Education and Training.

He is married with four children.

Morocco

Rachad Bouhlal became ambassador of Morocco to the United States on Jan. 18, 2012 having previously served as Morocco's ambassador to Germany since 2004.

He has also served as secretary-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (1999-2004); ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg (1996-99); advisor to the prime minister for economic and financial affairs (1994-96); secretary-general of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investments (1991-94); and director of fisheries at the Ministry of Fisheries and Merchant Marines (1988-91). Other postings include deputy director of the Trade Division, Foreign Currency Exchange, at the Ministry of Finance (1979-88); desk officer at the Europe Bureau of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (1978-79); and civil service officer in the Office of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (1976-78).

Ambassador Bouhlal is also a founding member of the Ribat Al Fath Association for Sustainable Development, pilot and president of the "Aéroclub Royal" in Rabat, Morocco, and founding member of the International Wildlife Film and Environment Festival (FIFALE).

He speaks Arabic, English and French, and is married with two children.

Niger

Maman S. Sidikou became ambassador of Niger to the United States on Jan. 18, 2012.

Ambassador Sidikou most recently served as country director for Rwanda (2010) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (2010-11) working with USAID, the United Nations, World Bank and Save the Children to coordinate programming and dialogue with development partners. He was also chief of education for UNICEF in Nigeria (2007-10); U.N. cluster coordinator for education and culture with the UNICEF Programme Irak in Amman, Jordan (2005-07); senior education specialist with the World Bank in Washington, D.C. (2002-05); team leader for the UNICEF Back-To-School Campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan (2001-02); chief of education, water and sanitation with UNICEF in Abuja, Nigeria (2000-01); and human development manager with USAID in Niamey, Niger (1994-95). Ambassador Sidikou's government experience includes serving as minister and director of the Cabinet of the Presidency in Niger (1999); minister managing Niger's external relations, including negotiations with international and bilateral partners, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and African Integration (1997-99); a minister advisor to the Office of the Presidency (1996-97); and director in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister (1983).

In addition, Ambassador Sidikou is a former journalist who worked at the Ministry of Information's Office de Radiodiffusion et Télévision du Niger (ORTN) from 1976 to 1979, serving as director of national television for ORTN from 1979 to 1981.

Ambassador Sidikou holds an associate's degree from the Universidad de Madrid in Spain, a diplôme supérieur in journalism from the Université de Dakar in Senegal, a master's degree in communication from the University of Texas at Austin, and a doctorate in adult and nonformal education from Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he was also a research associate with the university's Learning Systems Institute's Center for International Studies in the early 1990s.

He speaks French, Spanish, English, Hausa and Zarma-Songhay, and is married to Fatima Djibo-Sidikou (a diplomat), and has two children.

United Kingdom

Sir Peter Westmacott became the United Kingdom's 48th ambassador to the United States on Jan. 18, 2012 having most recently served as British ambassador to France since 2007.

Born in the village of Edington, Somerset, in 1950, Ambassador Westmacott was educated at New College Oxford and joined the Diplomatic Service in 1972. After a year in the Middle East Department, and Persian language training, he was posted to Tehran in 1974. In 1978, he was loaned to the European Commission in Brussels, before being posted to Paris from 1980 to 1984. After three years as chief of staff to successive ministers of state in London, Ambassador Westmacott went to Ankara in 1987, for the first of his two diplomatic postings to Turkey, returning in 2002 to serve as ambassador. In addition, from 1990 to 1993, he was deputy private secretary to the Prince of Wales, and from 1993 to 1997, he served as counselor for political and public affairs in Washington, D.C., before returning to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as Americas director, joining the Board of the FCO in 2000 as deputy undersecretary.

Ambassador Westmacott has been awarded the Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) and Lieutenant of the Victorian Order (LVO) for services to the royal family.

He is married Susie Nemazee in 2001, and between them they have four grown children, Oliver, Laura, Rupert and Safieh.

"It is a privilege to return to Washington to serve as British ambassador," the new envoy said. "Though much has changed since my last posting in Washington, the strength, closeness and primacy of the special relationship between the United States and United Kingdom has endured. It is a great honor to serve at the heart of this relationship, and I will do all in my power to support, sustain and strengthen it."

Last Edited on February 3, 2012