Career diplomats eye credentials for ambassadors

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The trade association that represents America's career diplomats is pushing new guidelines to ensure ambassadors are qualified for the job after a string of embarrassing comments by appointees to top overseas posts.

The American Foreign Service Association says its proposed qualifications are not in response to any recent cases. It also says the thorny issue of political diplomats is not unique to the Obama administration.

Association President Robert J. Silverman says political appointees who have demonstrated skills in private industry or have held leadership positions would be acceptable candidates as ambassadors, even if they have never served as a diplomat.

But he says more needs to be done to ensure that large campaign contributions don't necessarily pave the way for ambassadorships.

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