Tutwiler to be public spokeswoman

Washington: Former US ambassador to Morocco and briefly head of media operations in post-war Iraq Margaret Tutwiler is returning to Washington as the new Under-secretary of State for public affairs and public diplomacy.

She will replace Charlotte Beers, the former advertising executive who left the post in April for personal reasons.

The decision to hire Tutwiler, who served as Assistant Secretary of State for public affairs in the George Bush senior administration, would seem to represent a significant shift in diplomatic strategy for the current administration, which had appointed Beers in 2001.

Beers spearheaded an overseas Muslim-outreach programme centered on a £10m ad campaign that was dismissed by some as ineffectual.

Many in the diplomatic community hailed Tutwiler’s appointment as a signal that the administration is taking foreign relations seriously.

Tutwiler, a former spokes-woman at both the Treasury and State Departments, assisted her mentor, former Secretary of State James Baker, in his attempts to stop the recounts in Florida following the 2000 Presidential election.

Tutwiler was first offered her new position in April, following the departure of Beers. She is believed to have been hesitant to accept initially.

But after several weeks in Iraq attempting to set up a press operation plagued by obstacles, she has agreed to take the job. She now waits for confirmation by the Senate.

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