Thursday's global agenda: Another day, another treaty

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David Bruce Wharton, a former theater producer, would replace Ambassador Charles Ray in Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe remains president following bloody elections in 2008. Ray's departure after only three years on the job comes after controversial meetings with leaders of Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF Party.

Across the continent in Guinea, Obama chose Alexander Mark Laskaris, a graduate of the U.S. Army War College who's served in Kosovo and Iraq, to deal with an oil-rich country whose stability and democratic credentials have come under threat following a string of coup attempts over the past few years.

In Liberia, Deborah Ruth Malac has been chosen to serve as ambassador to a country that the United States often holds up as a shining example following President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's election in 2005 after a decade of civil war. The president's controversial reelection last year, however, was marred by reports of irregularities and was boycotted by her runoff opponent.

Also, Gene Allan Cretz has been chosen to serve in Ghana, a rare economic success story in western Africa.

In other news

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ annual conference in Cambodia on Thursday and pressed him to accept a code of conduct for resolving territorial disputes in the resource-rich South China Sea. [The Washington Post]

Iran is opening a public debate over its approach toward the crisis in Syria, with some diplomats publicly questioning whether Tehran should continue supporting President Bashar Assad's regime. [The Wall Street Journal]

A U.S. transport ship has been repurposed as a forward base designed as a counter to the threat posed by Iran in the Persian Gulf. [The New York Times]

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