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Monday, 09.12.2013, 22:38
Ambassador Garber expresses thanks for time spent in Latvia
"It has been a great honor to work as the U.S. ambassador to Latvia. The time spent in Latvia will remain in my memory. The cooperation between our countries has become closer and I am convinced that it will remain as such or even improve. Thank you, Latvia, and farewell," said Garber in her last public address in Latvian, writes LETA.
However, Garber had also prepared another surprise – a video address by the new U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Mark Pekala (also in Latvian), where he emphasized his close ties with the Baltic States, since he has worked at the U.S. Embassy in Estonia. Moreover, during World War II, his grandfather left Lithuania to migrate to the West via the Port of Liepaja.
Pekala currently serves as Director of the Entry-Level Division of the State Department’s Human Resources Bureau, where he assumed his duties in August 2010. Immediately before that, he served three years as Deputy Chief of Mission in the U.S. Embassy in Paris. From 2005 to 2007, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. In this capacity, Pekala oversaw U.S. bilateral relations with fifteen Nordic, Baltic, and Central European countries.
Pekala was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia, from 2002 to 2005. Before serving in Tallinn, he was Director for Russian Affairs on the National Security Council staff. Previous to serving at the White House, he was Senior Watch Officer in the State Department's Operations Center (2000-2001) and Special Assistant to the Ambassador-at-Large for the New Independent States (1999-2000).
From 1998 to 1999, Pekala was a Dean and Virginia Rusk Fellow at Georgetown University, teaching graduate seminars on U.S.-Russian Relations and European Security. From 1995 to 1998, he was First Secretary at the U.S. Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium, where he contributed to the drafting and negotiation of the NATO-Russia Founding Act and NATO’s revised "Strategic Concept." Tours previous to NATO included Warsaw, Poland, the State Department's Russia Desk, and the Bureau for Political-Military Affairs. Pekala and his wife have two daughters.
As reported, Garber, who has served as the U.S. ambassador to Latvia since August of 2009, will leave her post this month.