ISLAMABAD - US Ambassador-designate to Pakistan, Richard Olson, who arrived in Islamabad on Saturday to take office, promised to "build a relationship based on mutual respect and common interests".

"I am excited to begin my work in Pakistan. I look forward to presenting my credentials to His Excellency President Zardari as soon as possible and to start working with Pakistanis from all sections of society," Olson said upon his arrival, the US embassy said.

He said there is tremendous potential in Pakistan and he wants to work with the people of this country "to increase economic opportunity, expand trade between our two countries, address the energy crisis, and improve the quality of education and health care for all." Olson said he wants to see as much of this beautiful country as possible and meet its talented people.

Ambassador Olson was sworn in by Secretary Clinton as Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on September 24, 2012. His previous assignment was as the Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012. Ambassador Olson served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011.

He is a member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister Counselor. Ambassador Olson joined the U.S. Department of State in 1982. He has served in Mexico, Uganda, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates, (where he served both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai), and in Najaf, Iraq.

He was also Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). His Washington assignments include: State Department Operations Center (twice), NATO Desk, the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs (twice, including as Director), and the Office of Iraqi Affairs, including as Director. He graduated from Brown University in 1981, receiving an A.B. in Law and Society (Honors) and History.

Ambassador Olson has been awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State's Award for Public Outreach, the State Department's Superior Honor Award (three times), and the Secretary of Defense's Exceptional Civilian Service Award (for his service in Iraq). Ambassador Olson is the father of two daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling and hiking.