TEL AVIV (Jul. 30)
Thomas Pickering, the veteran American diplomat, arrived here Sunday to take over as the new U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Pickering, 53, succeeds Samuel Lewis who retired from diplomatic service last month to pursue an academic career. The new envoy is to present his credentials on August 6.
Upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, he told reporters that his main task “will be to continue to work for cooperation between Israel and the United States, particularly in the peace process.” He also said his new position “is one of the most important diplomatic posts for a U.S. Ambassador because of the excellent diplomatic relations between Israel and the United States.”
Pickering, a former Ambassador to El Salvador, Jordan and Nigeria, met today with Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir. During the one-hour meeting, Pickering told Shamir that he intended to maintain the tradition of close relations between the U.S. and Israel. Shamir replied that while there were always problems in the region, they could be solved in the traditional spirit of cooperation. Pickering also met today with David Kimche, Director General of the Foreign Ministry.