US President Barack Obama nominated a new American ambassador to Egypt Thursday, filling a position that had been vacant since Anne Patterson left the post in August 2013.
Robert Stephen Beecroft, the current US Ambassador to Iraq, a job has held since 2012, was tapped by the American head of state to fill Patterson’s position, which remained vacant for nine months during which tensions between the US and Egypt rose dramatically.
Beecroft has served as Ambassador to Jordan as well as consular and political officer in Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Stuart Jones, who is currently serving as the American Ambassador to Jordan, was selected to fill Beecroft’s position in Baghdad.
Beecroft’s nomination is still awaiting US Senate approval, and it remains unclear when he would assume responsibilities in Cairo.
Mahmoud Badr, spokesman for the Tamarod campaign that helped gather support to oust former president Mohamed Morsi, recently announced via Twitter that the group refused Beecroft’s invitation to meet with the group, asking him instead to “improve US relations with Egypt, Syria and the Arab countries instead.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Badr Abdelatty announced Tuesday that the United States must nominate a new ambassador to Egypt, saying that the US ambassador is required by “diplomatic norms” between the nations.
After the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi by the military following mass protests, Patterson was criticised by many Egyptians as being one-sided and sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.
After Patterson left her post, Al-Ahram Arabic published an article suggesting she was conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Patterson, in response, sent a letter to the editor of the state-run daily, saying: “Your article’s claim that I personally am involved in a conspiracy to divide and destabilise Egypt is absolutely absurd and dangerous… Make no mistake – false articles such as this one are a real threat to Egypt and to prospects for Egypt’s democratic transition.”
In August, US Secretary of State John Kerry appointed diplomat David Satterfield, who took a brief leave of absence from his position as Director General of the Multinational Force and Observers, an international monitoring force in Sinai, to temporarily replace Patterson.