Likely New US Diplomat for Eurasia ‘Gets Things Done’


By Andrew F. Tully

WASHINGTON (RFE/RL) — The United States will soon have a new deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

The man who is vacating the post after four years, Matthew Bryza, has announced he will be replaced by Tina Kaidanow, a longtime diplomat with more than 10 years of experience in the Balkans, who most recently served as the first US ambassador to Kosovo.

The US State Department has yet to formally announce Kaidanow’s appointment, however.
Bryza, who has held the post since June 2005, is now rumored to be moving on to serve as the US ambassador to Azerbaijan.
Kaidanow, who holds a master’s degree in political science from Columbia University in New

York, is a career diplomat who until now has specialized in the Balkans.

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Most notably, she served as the chief US envoy to Kosovo from July 2006-July 2009, during its historic transition from a breakaway territory of Serbia to a self-declared independent state.

Kaidanow’s first major position in government began under President Bill Clinton, where she served as director for Southeast European Affairs at the White House’s National Security Council. Subsequently she had assignments in Belgrade and Sarajevo.

Next, Kaidanow served as the special assistant to Christopher Hill when he was ambassador to Macedonia from 1998 to 1999, also during the Clinton presidency. Her duties at that time were centered on the crisis in Kosovo.

After that, she was special assistant for European affairs for Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage during President George W. Bush’s time in office.

In July 2006, Kaidanow was the chief of mission and charge d’affaires at the US Office in Pristina, which was to become the US Embassy to Kosovo. Two years later, following the independence declaration, she became the first US ambassador to Kosovo.

Kaidanow’s appointment to the European and Eurasian post will see her focusing on issues of US interest in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Southeast Europe. Energy issues and Georgia-Russia tensions can be expected to figure prominently in her work.

Kaidanow’s responsibilities may reportedly not extend to serving as the US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the three-party body tasked with facilitating negotiations on the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute over the Nagorno Karabagh enclave.

Bryza had served as Minsk Group co-chair during his time as the European and Eurasian deputy assistant secretary. In initial remarks, Bryza suggested Kaidanow would do the same.

But RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service and other news sites in Azerbaijan have since cited US officials as saying she will not be filling the post. An alternative replacement for Bryza’s co-chair position has not been named.

Officials in Azerbaijan had expressed concern that Kaidanow’s experience in Kosovo would translate into support for Nagorno Karabagh independence — an outcome that is hotly opposed by Baku.

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