U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday, December 14, the appointment of senior diplomat Jacob Walles as the new US ambassador to Tunisia.
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has not yet scheduled confirmation hearings for Walles.
Walles holds the rank of Minister Counselor, his previous position was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs. Originally from Wilmington, Delaware he graduated from Wesleyan University and holds a degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University.
Walles has been working for the US Department for more than 20 years now. He served in a number of posts involving Middle Eastern Affairs, including special assistant for the Middle East peace process in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and First Secretary at the US Embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv.
He was the deputy principal officer at the US Consulate in Jerusalem from 1996 to 1998. He later worked as the director of the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs from 1998 to 2001. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs between January and June, 2001. He previously served as a US Counselor General and Chief of Mission in Jerusalem from July 2005 to August 2009.
Walles will replace Gordon Gray, the current U.S. ambassador to Tunisia, who was confirmed by the Senate on July 10, 2009 to his post. He has almost 30 years of experience in the Foreign Service, primarily in positions dealing with the Middle East. Gray succeeded career diplomat Robert F. Godec.
Since the opening of the U.S. embassy in Tunis, only career diplomats have held the post of Ambassador.