U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has appointed Ambassador Dennis B. Ross to be her Special Advisor for the Gulf and Southwest Asia.
"Ambassador Ross brings a wealth of experience not just to issues within the region but also to larger political-military challenges that flow from the area and have an impact outside of the Gulf and Southwest Asia," said State Department spokesman Robert Wood in a written statement announcing the appointment. "The Secretary [Clinton] looks forward to drawing on that experience and diplomatic perspective."
Ambassador Ross is a veteran diplomat who served in top positions in the administrations of both Presidents George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton. As the Special Middle East Coordinator during the Clinton administration, Ambassador Ross worked to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As Special Advisor for the Gulf and Southwest Asia, Ambassador Ross will advise the Secretary and senior State Department officials on issues that cut across the region.
At a press briefing, State Department spokesman Wood described Mr. Ross's coordination role:
"He is going to be providing the Secretary [Clinton] with strategic advice. He will also be trying to ensure that there's coherence in our policies and strategies across the region."
One of the countries in Ambassador Ross's portfolio will be Iran. The Obama administration is reviewing U.S. policy toward Iran with the goal of laying out a general framework and approach over the next several months.
Secretary of State Clinton "will certainly seek out [Ambassador Ross's] advice with regard to Iran," said Mr. Wood. And Mr. Ross's years of experience in the Middle East will help to ensure that U.S. polices "are coherent across the board in the region."