Egypt accepts new US ambassador to Cairo

Ahram Online, Wednesday 7 May 2014

New ambassador, not yet revealed by name, will replace Anne Patterson, who was pulled from Cairo in August of last year

Badr Abdel-Aty
The Egyptian foreign ministry's spokesperson Badr Abdel-Aty (Photo: Ahram)

Egypt has agreed on the US's nomination for its new ambassador to Cairo, the foreign ministry's spokesman Badr Abdel-Aty told Ahram Online.

Abdel-Aty was unable to reveal the ambassador's name, citing diplomatic norms which stipulate initial approval by the US Congress and then an announcement from the US and not Egypt.

Last August, Egypt's foreign affairs ministry received a telegram from the US State Department stating that Anne Patterson had finished her term as US ambassador to Cairo.

The post has since been handled by a chargé d'affaires until Patterson's replacement is appointed.

Patterson, who took up her post in Cairo in June 2011, was accused by opponents of ousted president Mohamed Morsi of being biased towards the Muslim Brotherhood.

The restoration of Washington's top-level diplomatic representation in Egypt comes after two official visits to the US by intelligence chief Mohamed Farid El-Tohamy and Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy.

Fahmy's visit came days after the US stated it would deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters to Egypt to help the government in counterterrorism operations in the Sinai Peninsula, easing a partial aid suspension following the ouster of Morsi and a violent crackdown on his supporters.

Cairo's foreign minister held talks with his US counterpart John Kerry as well as other senior officials in the Obama administration. He also met with US communication and investment pundits and sat with members of the Egyptian community in San Francisco.  

Washington also said an additional $650 million in funding would be released upon Congressional approval that Egypt is sustaining its strategic relationship with the US and upholding its obligations under the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, the US State Department has said.

Last October, the US withheld a large chunk of its $1.3 billion annual military aid to Egypt, citing displeasure with Egypt's violent measures in dealing with dissent. Washington has since treaded lightly when it comes to calling Morsi's removal a coup in order to maintain its strategic ties with its key Middle East ally.

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