Laura Rozen

December 29, 2010

Categories:Appointments, Senate, Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
State Department, Turkey, White House

The White House is expected to announce as soon as today the recess
appointment of some ambassadors whose nominations were not confirmed
by the outgoing 111th Congress, POLITICO has learned.

Among those expected to be recess appointed to the job are Francis
Ricciardone to be U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, diplomatic sources told
POLITICO Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

Ricciardone, most recently the former deputy U.S. ambassador in
Afghanistan, and a former U.S. ambassador in Egypt, could not be
immediately reached for comment. The White House did not respond to
a query.

Turkey has been without a U.S. ambassador since Amb. Jim Jeffrey was
confirmed as the U.S. envoy to Iraq in August.

Ricciardone's confirmation was the subject of a "hold" by former Sen.

Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) who has retired from the Senate to become the
governor of Kansas. Former Bush NSC Middle East hand Elliott Abrams
had been critical of Ricciardone's alleged lack of enthusiasm for
Bush's Egypt democracy efforts when Ricciardone served as U.S.

ambassador in Cairo. But a leading Egyptian civil society activist
Saad Ibrahim has praised Ricciardone's record in an interview with
POLITICO, and recommended him for the Ankara job.

Recess appointments last for one year beyond the remainder of the
Congress's term. In addition, the White House could decide to resubmit
the nominations during the 112th Congress.

The U.S. is due to attend international Iran nuclear talks in Turkey
late next month.

Unclear is whether Obama will also recess appoint his nominee to be
U.S. envoy to Azerbaijan, Matthew Bryza. Bryza's confirmation has been
the subject of a "hold" by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) and Robert
Menendez (D-N.J.) who placed it amid criticism of the appointment
by the Armenian-American lobby group ANCA. Bryza, a career foreign
service officer who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for
Europe during the Bush administration, was praised however in a 2008
letter from then Armenian foreign minister Vartan Oskanian.

ANCA expressed disappointment earlier this month that outgoing House
majority leader Nancy Pelosi did not bring up a resolution for a vote
before the full House that would have condemned the Armenian genocide.

The U.S. has been without an ambassador in Baku since the summer
of 2009.

From: A. Papazian