The administration of US President Barack Obama has decided to withdraw its initial pick for US ambassador to Egypt after the countryâ„¢s military-backed government indicated the White Houseâ„¢s pick will not be welcomed.
In an exclusive report published on Monday, Foreign Policyâ„¢s The Cable said the White House has decided to keep Robert Ford in his current position as the US ambassador to Damascus, Syria because Egyptian authorities indicated they did not want him as the US envoy to Cairo over his ties to militants fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Å“Heâ„¢s absolutely the wrong person for this job, at least right now,” an unnamed Arab diplomat familiar with the case told The Cable.
White House officials confirmed that Ford was not welcomed by Egyptian officials but also said the diplomatâ„¢s ties to Syrian militants were so important for Washington that it will keep him in the Arab country.
Å“The president, and the Secretary [of State], and the entire administration have enormous respect for the job he has done on Syria — here in Washington and in Damascus — and they feel it’s vital for him to keep working on this issue,” a senior US State Department official told The Cable.
Last week, Washington said that a meeting between al-Qaeda-linked insurgent groups fighting against the Syrian government and US officials was possible.
The US State Department said US officials might enter negotiations with the al-Qaeda-linked group Islamic Front discussing, among other things, the return of the US supplies the militants seized from another rival group, the so-called Free Syrian Army, earlier this month.
However, according to The Cable, the insurgents have yet refused to meet with Ford, and he might lose the position of the US ambassador to Egypt over a meeting that has not yet materialized.
Ford was supposed to build closer ties with Egyptâ„¢s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who ousted former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, the countryâ„¢s first democratically-elected head of state, on July 3.
The Obama administration refused to call the military-led ouster of Morsi a coup because such acknowledgement would trigger an automatic congressional ban on the US aid to the Egyptian military.
Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Egypt Assistance Reform Act which facilitates the provision of aid to countries ruled by post-coup military governments, giving the administration the power to determine when a democratically-elected government has been removed by force.
Source: Press TV