The White House named veteran Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross Thursday to a key policymaking job overseeing a region encompassing the Middle East, the Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and South Asia.
Ross, who had been at the State Department as special adviser for the Gulf and southwest Asia, will serve as special assistant to the president on the region, which sweeps across the Middle East, the Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and South Asia. He will work with top officials on policy issues including Iran and Iraq.
"Dennis Ross will become special assistant to the president and senior director for the Central Region with overall responsibility for the region," said National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer.
There had been intense speculation in Washington in recent days about Ross's appointment, with some reports saying he would be demoted from his State Department job, and others suggesting a promotion.
The scope of his new responsibilities may come as a surprise, as various leaks quoting unnamed sources in the U.S. press suggested a much narrower portfolio.
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