OTTAWA - Ottawa has appointed its new ambassador to Venezuela.

Ben Rowswell has been tapped to replace Paul Gibbard as Canada's official envoy to the South American country.

The announcement was made in a statement released late Friday.

Foreign Affairs says Rowswell joined the department -- then called External Affairs and International Trade -- in 1993 as a policy officer for conflict management and peacekeeping.

It says he also twice worked in the Privy Council Office and served abroad in New York, Cairo, Baghdad, Kabul and Kandahar.

He most recently served as director of the department's Gulf states and regional trade division.