New US ambassador to present credentials to Alvi on July 1

Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
Monday, Jun 20, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The newly-appointed US Ambassador, Donald Armin Blome, will present his credentials to President Arif Alvi on July 1, five weeks after his arrival in Pakistan.

Highly-placed diplomatic sources told The News here on Sunday that the Foreign Office has intimated about the schedule of handing over the documents to the US mission in Islamabad. The president, who comes from the ousted PTI party of Imran Khan, had been reportedly reluctant in giving a time frame for receiving the documents of the ambassador, who is the first full-fledged ambassador of that country after four years in Pakistan.

However, PTI sources close to Dr Alvi rubbished the report that the president was delaying credentials presentation ceremony, saying that sometimes it takes time to review things.David Hale, who was also the last career ambassador of the United States in Pakistan, relinquished his assignment in Islamabad on August 30, 2018. Like him, Ambassador Blome is also from the State Department but junior in classification to Hale.

The sources pointed out that PTI Secretary General and its former finance minister Asad Umar expressed his party’s reservations on the designation of Donald Blome as the envoy for Pakistan on the pretext that he had served his country in Baghdad as the United States invaded Iraq.

The authorities, including Foreign Office considering the objection as frivolous, ignored it. Yet another stalwart of the PTI and its former federal minister for human rights Shireen Mazari raised an objection on an informal courtesy meeting between foreign minister and PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Donald Blome here in Islamabad two weeks ago, terming it against the diplomatic norms since the latter had not offered his credentials to the head of the state.

The sources reminded that the Foreign Office provided all sorts of facilitation to the US ambassador as his documents were received by the officials concerned to enable him for initiating his diplomatic assignment in Pakistan. Accordingly, the ambassador had important meetings and visited various places since then, including a significant visit to Karachi where he had a meeting with traders and business personalities at the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) where, as a gesture of greeting and goodwill, he initiated trading.

The sources said that President Arif Alvi was informed that presentation of credentials could not be delayed further. The government would be constrained to make alternative arrangements. The warning worked and now the Presidency has appointed a date for the ceremony. A letter from the US President Joe Biden pertaining to the appointment of Donald Armin Blome would be part of credential documents to be submitted to President Alvi. Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood will also attend the ceremony, the sources said.

Donald Blome is a career member of the senior US Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counsellor. Donald Armin Blome was nominated by the US president last year to be the new US ambassador to Pakistan. He was sworn in as the US Ambassador to Pakistan on April 11, 2022 in Washington.

Ambassador Blome most recently served as the US Ambassador to Tunisia from 2019 to 2022. He also served as Chargé d’Affaires at the Libya External Office in Tunis, Tunisia, and Consul General at the US Consulate in Jerusalem. Previously, he served the Department of State as Director, Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs (2013 – 2015), Political Counsellor, Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan (2012-2013), Minister-Counsellor for Economic and Political Affairs, Embassy Cairo, Egypt (2009-2012). He also served as the Civilian Co-Director, Multinational Force Strategic Engagement Cell, Baghdad, Iraq (2007-2008) and as Political Counsellor, Embassy Kuwait (2006-2007).

The sources reminded that at least four more designated ambassadors of other countries for Pakistan would present their credential to the president separately on the same day. Interestingly, Pakistan’s ambassador for the United States Masood Khan submitted his credentials to US President Joe Biden in Washington last week.

The sources pointed out that Donald Blome would be able to host reception ceremonies of his country on the Independence Day of the United States, falling three days after his credentials, on July 4, the 246th anniversary of its founding.