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Obama picks a Utahn to be ambassador to Yemen

Published January 21, 2014 5:02 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • President Barack Obama nominated Matthew Tueller, a Utah native, to be the next ambassador to Yemen on Thursday.

Tueller, a career foreign service officer, is now the ambassador to Kuwait, a post he has held since 2011. Before that, he was the deputy chief of mission in Egypt.

The son of a foreign-service officer, Tueller has lived in a dozen countries but he still considers Utah home. He attended Brigham Young University and owns a home in Provo. He has decorated the Embassy in Kuwait with paintings from Utah artists.

"It is important that you have a sense of where you really belong," Tueller told The Salt Lake Tribune in an interview in 2012. "We have tried very much to instill in our family that Utah is where home is."

The Arab world, though, is where his career is. He served in Yemen in 2000 and early 2001.

If confirmed by the Senate, Tueller would return to the country at a remarkably sensitive time.

The United States consider the al-Qaida branch in Yemen to be the world's most dangerous. On Thursday, al-Qaida militants killed eight soldiers during an attack on a military camp there. The United States has launched drone strikes against suspected terrorist leaders in Yemen.

mcanham@sltrib.com