Richard H. Jones, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was sworn in as Ambassador to Israel by Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick on September 6, 2005. Jones had been serving as the Secretary of State's Senior Advisor and Coordinator for Iraq Policy (S/I) since February, 2005, where he was the highest ranking State Department official focused entirely on Iraq policy. In that capacity, Jones chaired an under-secretary level interagency steering group charged with reviewing and developing Iraq policy. He also led U.S. diplomatic efforts on Iraq with the international community. In this regard, he managed US preparations for the June 22 Iraq International Conference in Brussels, Belgium. This unprecedented event gathered together more than 80 high-level delegations, including some 65 national delegations led by foreign ministers, to pledge political support for Iraq and its newly elected democratic government.
Prior to assuming his duties as S/I, Jones served as US Ambassador to Kuwait from September 2001 until July 2004. From November 2003 until June 2004 he served concurrently as Chief Policy Officer and Deputy Administrator for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. In Kuwait, Jones focused his efforts on enlisting active Kuwaiti support for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. As Deputy Administrator of the CPA, he worked directly with Ambassador L. Paul Bremer to implement the November 15 Agreement with the Iraqi Governing Council. Among their accomplishments were the successful adoption of a new law to govern Iraq during the transitional period, the formation of an Iraqi interim government and the restoration of sovereignty ahead of schedule. He won State Department and other US government awards for his performance in both positions.
Jones has also served as US Ambassador to Kazakhstan (from December 1998 until July 2001) and as US Ambassador to Lebanon (from February, 1996 until July, 1998. Previous postings include Director of the State Department's Office of Egyptian Affairs (1993-95) and Director of its Division of Developed Country Trade (1987-89). He was twice posted to the US Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and has served in Paris and Tunis. After Kuwait, Jones also served as a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government from September 2004 until January 2005. He has received US government awards for his work as Ambassador to Kazakhstan and as Ambassador to Lebanon, for performance during the Gulf War and for contributions to commercial and trade negotiations.
Born on August 26, 1950, at Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, Louisiana, Jones has Masters and Doctoral degrees in Business/Statistics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Bachelor of Science degree with distinction in Mathematics from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. His foreign languages are Arabic, French, German and Russian. He has been awarded two US patents and served two terms on the board of the Saudi Arabian International School in Riyadh. He and his wife, Joan, are the parents of four children, two of whom are adults. They enjoy hiking, bicycling as well as winter and racquet sports.
Sources: United States Embassy Israel