Pope Francis has given an additional diplomatic post to Archbishop Paul Russell. In addition to his present postings as apostolic nuncio to Turkey and apostolic nuncio to Turkmenistan he will also be apostolic nuncio to Azerbaijan. It is not unusual for diplomats of the Holy See to have several posts concurrently. Usually this is because the posts are geographical neighbors. Azerbaijan borders Turkey on its east; while Turkmenistan is separated from Turkey by Iran and the Caspian Sea. As nuncio Archbishop Russell represents the Holy See both to the local churches in each nation and to the respective governments. The additional assignment was effective on April 7, 2018.