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US Appoints Zambia Ambassador Years After Gay Rights Row

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Zambia is getting a new US ambassador Micheal Gonzalez, years after the previous one was forced out due to a diplomatic row over his comments on gay rights in the country.

Following his confirmation by the US Congress, the newly appointed ambassador, Michael Gonzalez, is expected to arrive in the country next month.

The United States recalled its then-ambassador Daniel Foote in 2019 after he said he was “horrified” that a judge had sentenced a gay couple to 15 years in prison.

Zambia accused Foote of attempting to dictate policy, and the country’s president, Edgar Lungu, declared him persona non grata at the time.

On Tuesday, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema bid farewell to outgoing US chargé d’affaires Martin Dale, pledging to strengthen the two countries’ long-standing ties.

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema

Gonzales is an American diplomat serving as the deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of African Affairs. He is the nominee to serve the United States ambassador to Zambia.

Gonzales is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor. He has held many positions throughout his career; he was the director of analysis of Africa in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

Overseas, he held leadership positions as the deputy chief of mission of the U.S. embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal and of the U.S. embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi; and as the political and economic counselor of the U.S. embassies in Harare, Zimbabwe and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In addition, Gonzales served as spokesperson and Information Officer at the U.S Embassy in Addis Ababa; Ethiopia desk officer in the State Department; and deputy public affairs officer of the U.S. embassy in Kampala, Uganda.

Since October 1, 2020, he has served as the deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of African Affairs.

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