Biden nominates academic Gutmann as U.S. envoy to Germany -sources

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University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann participates in a roundtable discussion with Vice President Joe Biden at the Perelman School of Medicine and Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania January 15, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Makela

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BERLIN, June 30 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden has nominated academic Amy Gutmann as U.S. ambassador to Germany, three sources said on Wednesday, as the two countries seek to rebuild relations that cooled under former President Donald Trump.

Gutmann, 71, who would be the first woman to serve in the role and whose father fled Nazi Germany, is currently president of the University of Pennsylvania.

Her nomination was handed to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in mid-June, one of the sources told Reuters. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Gutmann would replace interim appointee Robin Quinville.

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Quinville took over last year from Richard Grenell, a Trump ally who stepped down after little more than two years in the job.

"With Amy Gutmann, Joe Biden is relying on an experienced bridge builder. She is taking on a difficult legacy after Richard Grenell," Johann Wadephul, deputy parliamentary leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative alliance, told Reuters.

During his tenure, Grenell accused Germany of undermining NATO's nuclear deterrent and criticised Berlin's involvement in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia.

The standoff over the pipeline has strained bilateral ties. The Biden administration last month waived sanctions on the company behind it. read more

A German foreign ministry spokesperson said that, while it could not confirm the move, Berlin would welcome the nomination, and that the post had enormous significance for developing future relations.

The U.S. embassy in Berlin was not immediately available for comment.

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Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Riham Alkousaa; editing by John Stonestreet

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