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'No decision made' on US envoy to Egypt: State department

State Department says 'no personnel decisions' have been made regarding next US ambassador to Egypt; sources tell Reuters former US envoy to Syria tops list

Ahram Online, Reuters , Tuesday 6 Aug 2013
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Marie Harf, Deputy Spokesperson of the US State Department, denied that former US envoy to Syria Robert Ford will be appointed as the next US ambassador to Egypt.

"No personnel decisions to make. Ambassador Ford is fully engaged on issues involving Syria," Harf said during a press briefing on Monday.

"Ambassador Ford is a career, long-serving diplomat who's served in very demanding and dangerous posts, is very well respected by his State Department colleagues, also his foreign counterparts, but no announcements to make on that. And any announcement on that will eventually come from the White House," Harf added.

Two sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Sunday that Ford is being considered as Washington's next ambassador, coinciding with US and European efforts to reach a peaceful solution to Egypt's political crisis.

Ford, a fluent Arabic speaker, had antagonised Syria's government with his high-profile support for demonstrators trying to end 13 years of rule by President Bashar Al-Assad.

He was withdrawn from Syria briefly in October 2011 because of threats to his safety. He left Damascus for good four months later after the US suspended embassy operations as the situation in Syria deteriorated.

In May 2013, he briefly crossed into northern Syria to meet with opposition leaders, the highest-ranking US official to go into Syria since its war began.

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