- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexico nominated a new ambassador to the United States on Tuesday, a little over a half-year after his predecessor took up what many consider the country’s most important overseas diplomatic post.

The new top envoy to Washington will be Carlos Manuel Sada Solana, who is currently consul general in Los Angeles, the Foreign Relations Department said in a statement. He worked previously at the Mexican Embassy in Washington as a liaison to Congress and as consul general in New York, Chicago, San Antonio and Toronto.

Mexican officials apparently hope his extensive U.S. experience will be useful in countering a perceived increase in anti-Mexican sentiment in the United States.

Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu told a local radio station that “today in the context of the electoral campaign we have seen sentiments that in many cases are anti-Mexican among a certain part of the U.S. population.”

“This climate is due in large part to a lack of knowledge about our country,” Ruiz Massieu told Radio Formula.

The current ambassador, Miguel Basanez, was confirmed by Mexico’s Senate in September. Basanez is an academic and an expert on opinion polling who did much of his post-graduate education at British universities.

Mexican authorities will send Sada’s name to Washington for approval, and he must still be confirmed by the Senate.

The United States is Mexico’s biggest trade partner and home to more than 11 million Mexican-born people.

Mexico has been the target of U.S. campaign rhetoric from some candidates, including Donald Trump, who says that as president he would wall off the entire border and force Mexico to pay for it.

The U.S. has been without an ambassador to Mexico since last July.

President Barack Obama’s nomination of Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson to fill the position has been held up in the U.S. Senate by former presidential candidate Marco Rubio, who objected to her role in negotiating the restoration of diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba.

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