WASHINGTON - The United States has chosen a veteran diplomat who retired more than a decade ago to serve as its senior envoy in Libya following the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in a Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, the State Department said on Thursday.

Laurence Pope, a former US ambassador to Chad and senior State Department counter-terrorism official, has arrived in Tripoli to serve as "charge d'affairs," the title given to a diplomat who represents a country in the absence of an ambassador, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

"Mr. Pope's selection as charge d'affairs emphasizes the commitment of the United States to the relationship between our two countries and to the people of Libya as they move forward in their transition to a democratic government," Nuland said.

"We will continue to assist as Libya builds democratic institutions and broad respect for the rule of law - the goals that Ambassador Stevens worked hard to achieve," she added.

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