Obama appoints new Mideast coordinator

US President Barack Obama has appointed a new coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region, the White House announced Saturday.

The new official is Philip Gordon, a veteran foreign policy expert, who will take up his position on the National Security Staff on March 11.

The appointment came two weeks before Obama is to visit Jordan and Israel.

Gordon has been working as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs since May 2009, with responsiblity for US policy on 50 countries, as well as NATO and the European Union, the White House said in a statement.

Before that he was a foreign policy adviser to Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.