U.S. sends new acting ambassador to Libya

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Story highlights

  • Laurence Pope is the new charge d'affairs in Libya, handling ambassador duties
  • He came out of retirement to take the job
  • The United States vows to continue building ties with Libya

The United States has a new charge d'affairs in Libya to oversee diplomatic efforts in the wake of Ambassador Chris Stevens' killing.

Laurence Pope arrived Thursday in Tripoli to take on the role, the State Department announced. With no ambassador in the country, Pope will handle those duties.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Pope "looks forward to working with the Libyan government and the Libyan people during this historic and challenging time, as we build strong economic, social, political, and educational bridges between our two people."

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"We will continue to assist as Libya builds democratic institutions and broad respect for the rule of law -- the goals that Ambassador Stevens worked hard to achieve," Nuland said in a written statement.

Pope, who was born in 1945, is coming out of retirement to take the job.

A speaker of Arabic and French, he spent decades in the diplomatic ranks, beginning in 1969, before retiring in 2000. He held some senior posts, including director of Northern Gulf Affairs, associate director for counterterrorism, and political adviser to the commander of U.S. Central Command.

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