Biden picks Israel, Mexico, Nato ambassadors

Joe Biden steps off Air Force One in Geneva ahead of a summit in the city with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Joe Biden on Tuesday (June 15) announced his nominees to be ambassadors to Israel, Mexico and Nato, as he moves to strengthen US alliances in tough regions.

Among a slate of names announced by the White House on Tuesday were Thomas Nides, a Morgan Stanley vice-chairman who served as a deputy secretary of state under former president Barack Obama, to serve as the ambassador to Israel.

The close US ally is welcoming a new government after Israel's parliament ended Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year run as prime minister on Sunday.

Biden also picked Ken Salazar, a former US senator from Colorado and interior secretary, as his ambassador to Mexico.

The country is one of the United States' biggest trading partners and the Biden administration is working to manage immigration across the US-Mexican border.

He also chose security expert Julianne Smith to represent the United States on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, a key Western bulwark against Russia.

Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are set to meet in Geneva on Wednesday at a time of increased tensions between the two powers.

The White House also said Biden picked CB "Sully" Sullenberger to be an ambassador and serve as the US representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Sullenberger rose to fame in 2009 after gliding his Airbus A320 to a safe landing on the Hudson River after hitting a flock of geese shortly after takeoff, in what became known as the "Miracle on the Hudson."

He also joined Biden on the campaign trail when he was running for president.

Biden also named his ambassador picks to Sri Lanka, the Gambia, Guinea, Paraguay and Costa Rica.

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