US picks new chief envoy to Kingdom

By: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

US president Barack Obama yesterday announced his intent to nominate William Heidt as the country’s next ambassador to Cambodia.

According to a statement released by the White House, Heidt, a “career member of the Foreign Service”, is currently the executive assistant to the under-secretary for economic growth, energy and the environment at the US State Department.

Heidt’s experience in the region included posts in Indonesia and Cambodia. He had previously served as an economic and commercial officer at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh from 1997 to 1999. He was also a finance and development officer and an economic counsellor at the embassy in Jakarta from 2000 to 2003 and 2004 to 2007, respectively.

Heidt will replace current Ambassador William Todd, who has been serving in Cambodia since 2012.

Todd has recently pushed Cambodia to allow Montagnards, a Christian minority whose members have been fleeing Vietnam in favour of the Kingdom due to persecution, access to “internationally accepted asylum procedures”. He also writes a column for the English-language Cambodian news portal the Cambodia Herald.

SOURCE: THE PHNOM PENH POST