US diplomat George P. Kent has been nominated new ambassador to Estonia, ending years of speculation on who would take up the currently vacant post, and when. Kent has diplomatic experience in Ukraine, and is a former deputy chief of mission to Kyiv. His nomination is subject to approval by the Senate.
The official White House site on Friday reported Kent's nomination by President Joe Biden, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Estonia.
The US has not had an ambassador in-country since summer 2018, when James D. Melville announced his resignation, over his dissatisfaction with then-President Donald Trump's statements about NATO and EU allies.
In October 2019, businessman William Ellison Grayson was reported as nominee to replace Melville, but apparently did not take up office in Tallinn.
Following the November 2020 presidential elections, speculation arose as to when President Biden would appoint a new ambassador, and in June this year, coinciding with the centennial of full diplomatic relations between the two countries being established, it was reported that the process was underway again, though no names were mentioned at that time.
A US Embassy spokesperson told ERR's Russian-language portal that the next step, following the nomination, will be the candidate's confirmation by the Senate.
George P. Kent is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, according to the State Department website, a post he held until a year ago to the day. His resume include assignments in Kyiv, where he was deputy political counselor in 2004, and later deputy chief of mission 2015-2018.
He also gave a deposition to the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump, where he was questioned about Trump's conversations with Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelenskyy, and also appeared before the House Intelligence Committee in a public hearing alongside the-then US interim chargé d'affaires in Kyiv.
The highest-ranking US diplomat currently serving in Estonia is Chargé d'Affaires Gabrielle Cowan.
Plans are in place for the US Embassy to relocate from its current home, on Kentmanni, to an entirely new complex to be built at Suur-Ameerika 3/4.
Editor: Andrew Whyte