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New US ambassador to Iraq arrives in Baghdad

BAGHDAD--Washington's new ambassador to Iraq arrived in Baghdad and was sworn into his new position on Thursday after U.S. President Barack Obama's original pick for the job had to withdraw his candidacy.

Veteran diplomat Stephen Beecroft was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Sept. 22, and is to present his credentials to Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and President Jalal Talabani “at the earliest opportunity,” a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said.

Beecroft will head Washington's largest embassy in the world, amid challenges in U.S.-Iraq ties over Baghdad's warming relations with Shiite neighbor Iran.

He has served at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad since July 2011, first as the deputy chief of mission and, from June, as the charge d'affaires.

Beecroft previously served as ambassador to Jordan from 2008-2011, and has held positions at U.S. embassies in Saudi Arabia and Syria.

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