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Switzerland names new ambassador to US

Christian Blickenstorfer is heading for Washington

(Keystone Archive)

The Swiss government has chosen its new ambassador to the United States. Christian Blickenstorfer is to replace Alfred Defago in Washington in the autumn, once the US authorities have given their consent.

Blickenstorfer, a career diplomat, was formerly ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and several Gulf states, and is known as a specialist on Arab affairs. He has also served as deputy ambassador in the US.

The changeover is part of the normal rotation of diplomatic staff, and comes as Defago finishes his five-year tenure in Washington.

Defago took over as ambassador in 1997 at the height of the crisis over Switzerland's wartime past. He was appointed as a successor to Carlo Jagmetti, who resigned over a diplomatic scandal.

Jagmetti stepped down over a leaked report in which he said Switzerland was facing a war with the Jewish organisations over their efforts to recover dormant Holocaust-era assets from Swiss banks.

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