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Obama nominates envoys to Britain, India

President Barack Obama has picked a Citigroup executive as ambassador to Britain and a former member of the 9/11 Commission as envoy to India.
/ Source: The Associated Press

President Barack Obama has picked a Citigroup executive as ambassador to Britain, a theology professor to represent the U.S. at the Vatican and a former member of the 9/11 Commission as envoy to India.

The White House on Wednesday announced a slate of top diplomats in capitals from Tokyo to Paris. The group fills many of the highest profile jobs in the foreign service and will be crucial representatives of Obama and his State Department with U.S. allies.

"I am grateful that these distinguished Americans have agreed to help represent the United States and strengthen our partnerships abroad at this critical time for our nation and the world," Obama said in a statement. "I am confident they will advance American diplomacy as we work to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

For the London appointment, Obama turned to Louis Susman, a retired vice chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking. A former Salomon Brothers employee, he won a commission appointment from President Ronald Reagan and was a director for the St. Louis Cardinals for more than a decade.

The White House also announced it plans to nominate Miguel H. Diaz, an associate professor of theology at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn., for the top job at the Vatican.

A Hispanic Roman Catholic theologian, the Cuban-American advised Barack Obama's presidential campaign. He also was among 26 Catholics who signed a statement supporting the nomination of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic whose support for abortion rights was criticized by conservative Catholics.

And Obama nominated former U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer of Indiana to be his ambassador to New Delhi. The former Sept. 11 commissioner endorsed Obama during his primary campaign and was a strong advocate of Obama's foreign policy approach.

To other capitals, Obama planned to nominate Charles Rivkin, an outside homeland security adviser, to France. A former financial analyst, he also ran entertainment companies such as The Jim Henson Company and Wild Brain Inc.

And Obama tapped Internet and biotechnology lawyer John Roos as the United States' top diplomat to Japan. As the top executive at a Palo Alto, Calif., law firm, he helped raise money for startup companies and has represented major technology companies.

The posts all require Senate confirmation.