Bush begins diplomatic reshuffle

John Negroponte nominated for deputy secretary of state position.

    Negroponte, the head of the US's spy agencies, left,  will be  move to the state department [AFP]

    Bush said he was asking Negroponte to serve at the State Department during what he called a crucial moment.

    "John Negroponte's broad experience, sound judgment and expertise on Iraq and the war on terror make him a superb choice as deputy secretary of state," Bush said.

    He said McConnell has the "experience, the intellect and the character to succeed" as head of national intelligence, a position established after the September 11 Commission recommended in 2004 that Congress create a single official to co-ordinate the spy agencies.

    "Mike will report directly to me. And I am confident he will give me the best information and analysis that America's intelligence community can provide," the president added.
    New approach

    "John Negroponte's broad experience, sound judgment and expertise on Iraq and the war on terror make him a superb choice as deputy secretary of state."

    George Bush,
    US president

    Bush is expected to unveil his new approach to Iraq as early as Wednesday, after consultations with other world leaders and US politicians, the White House said.

    On Thursday, Bush did not directly address media reports that he plans to increase the number of US troops in Iraq, but said: "One thing is for certain, I will want to make sure that the mission is clear and specific and can be accomplished."

    Bush is believed to be contemplating what could be a short-term increase of up to 20,000 US troops to try to restore stability to Baghdad, but is facing opposition from some politicians and military officials.

    Part of his strategy is expected to be a new American team on the ground in Iraq.

    General John Abizaid, the top US commander in the Middle East, and General George Casey, the chief general in Iraq, are both set to leave their jobs in coming weeks.

    Bush is expected to replace Abizaid with Admiral William Fallon, the top US commander in the Pacific and Casey's replacement will probably be Lieutenant General David Petraeus, who headed the effort to train Iraqi security forces.

    Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, is also likely to become the next US ambassador to the United Nations, with Ryan Crocker, the current ambassador to Pakistan, taking his place.   

    SOURCE: Agencies


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