US Ambassador Richard Jones is to leave his post on July 11, some three years after taking up the position, and will be replaced by James Cunningham, whose appointment was confirmed by the US Senate last week. Cunningham, a career diplomat who last served as the US consul general in Hong Kong and before that as the deputy US ambassador to the UN, is scheduled to arrive in Israel in mid-August. American officials said the fact Cunningham was approved by a Democratic-controlled Senate indicated he would likely stay on for some time even if Democratic candidate Barack Obama is elected president. Cunningham, as well as all the other US ambassadors, is expected to tender his resignation once a new president is sworn in to give the new president the opportunity to make his own appointments. In most cases, however, the resignations are rejected and the acting ambassadors continue in the position. One official noted that Cunningham, although he did deal with Middle East issues at the UN, is not considered a Middle East expert. Luis Moreno - the number two at the US embassy in Tel Aviv - will be the charge d'affaires in the period between Jones's departure and Cunningham's arrival. Jones will be leaving the State Department and has been named deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization based in Paris dealing with a wide array of energy-related issues.