WASHINGTON (AFP) – A seasoned diplomat who is leading tough nuclear talks with Iran was Monday named as US Secretary of State John Kerry’s acting deputy, adding to her already overflowing in-tray.
Wendy Sherman, who has impressed with her steely, yet elegant manner over months of negotiations will retain her title as undersecretary of state for political affairs – occupying at least temporarily the number two and number three positions at the State Department.
“She has superhuman abilities in diplomacy,” said the department’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki, asked how Sherman could juggle two jobs at once, given all the foreign policy crises around the world.
Sherman takes over from Bill Burns, who finally stepped down as deputy secretary last month after 32 years in the Foreign Service – after twice being persuaded by President Barack Obama to stay on.
Quizzed as to why she was only designated as acting deputy secretary and not nominated permanently to the post, Psaki said the administration was not yet ready to make a full announcement.