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New envoy to Philippines arriving end of July —senior US diplomat


Washington's new envoy to the Philippines is arriving at the end of the month, a senior US diplomat said Friday night as America looks forward to bolstering its economic, security and political cooperation with its long-time treaty ally under Ferdinand Marcos Jr. administration.

President Joe Biden has designated career diplomat MaryKay Loss Carlson as the next US ambassador to the Philippines -- a post that has been vacant since October 2020.

"We are really excited to welcome very soon our new ambassador, ambassador MaryKay Carlson. She will be here in the Philippines by the end of the month," Chargè d'Affaires Heather Variava told journalists at the embassy's US Independence Day reception Friday evening.

"She's now in Washington having meetings preparing to come out here in the Philippines and I'm looking forward to taking on my role as her deputy once she gets here at the end of the month. So stay tuned there's a lot more to come with our new ambassador."

A veteran diplomat, Carlson was Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina prior to her appointment in Manila.

She also served as Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi, India for three years and as principal Deputy Executive Secretary of the Secretary of State in Washington, D.C.

Carlson entered the foreign service 1985 after earning her degree in Spanish and International Studies from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee and Master of Arts in International Relations from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Her other diplomatic postings include China, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Mozambique, Kenya, and the Dominican Republic.

Variava said the US looks forward to more high-level engagements with the Philippines, including a possible visit to Washington of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Marcos Jr. was invited by US President Joe Biden to visit the US at a mutually agreed date.

Marcos Jr. faces a potential legal issue in the United States, where a US district court has cited him and his mother, Imelda, for contempt for violating a court injunction.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said in a news conference in Manila last month that Marcos Jr. has immunity as president and can freely travel to the United States.

"There's a lot to look forward to and we are continuing to have discussions with the Philippines and other nations in the region with our Indo-Pacific economic framework. We have an ongoing roster of activities on the security side of things including exercises, we have ongoing discussions about our security partnership which of course falls under the mutual defense agreement," Variava said.

"We have those discussions to look forward to and more to come and hopefully more visits and interactions in the high level as well."

In the coming months, Variava said the US government is looking forward to further strengthening and deepening its alliance with the Philippines in several key sectors.

"Taking note of the many areas of cooperation that we already have whether it's in development, clean energy, in business, in security, in maritime domain protection, security partnerships, all of those issues were discussed and we are talking about how we can do more together and move forward together," Variava said. —LBG, GMA News

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