Nomination for top U.S. diplomat for South Asia withdrawn: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Thursday it had withdrawn a nomination it made to the U.S. Senate to fill the post of America’s top diplomat for South Asia, a position that has remained unfilled since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

The nomination of Defense Intelligence Agency official Robert Williams for the post of assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs was announced five months ago.

A White House statement announcing the withdrawal did not give a reason for the move, and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The State Department position, which includes such diplomatic hot spots as Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, has been vacant since Nisha Desai Biswal stepped down in January 2017.

Alice Wells, a career foreign service officer and former U.S. ambassador to Jordan, serves as the acting assistant secretary for South Asian affairs.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Peter Cooney