Egyptian Politicians Give Mixed Reviews to Choice of New FM
By Mohammad Baali
Albawaba.com – Cairo
The appointment of the former Egyptian ambassador to the US, Ahmad Maher, as the new foreign minister, has received mixed reviews from Egyptian opposition figures.
One member of the Nasserist Party’s politburo, Farouq Ashri, told Albawaba.com that Maher's appointment was aimed at bringing to the foreign office a person “more acceptable as far as the US and the West are concerned.”
From Ashri’s point of view, the statements and stances of Maher’s predecessor, Amr Moussa, were not so pleasing to the US.
However, the Nasserist said that the newcomer’s policies would not deviate drastically from Moussa’s, simply because such policies are directed by President Hosni Mubarak.
For his part, a politburo member of the banned Communist Party, Ibrahim Badrawi, said he was not optimistic about the new minister, citing Moussa's "distinguished performance.”
“Egypt’s foreign policy at this critical time needs a minister of special qualifications,” Badrawi said.
At least one Islamist was taken by surprise by Maher's appointment.
“The choice of an unknown person surprised me,” said Abul Ola Madi of the Islamist Centrist Party.
He added that “Amr Moussa’s model will hurt the new minister, because everyone is expecting him to turn in the same performance.”
However, some politicians say it is premature to judge Maher. The head of the freedoms committee at the Writers’ Union, Sayyed Bahrawi, said that information on the appointee was too scarce to pass judgments now.
Maher was sworn in before President Mubarak in the Sharm Al Sheikh Red Sea Resort on Tuesday.
Maher was not on a list of potential candidates for the post included in local press reports. However, his brother, Ali, was a strong candidate. The brother is the current Egyptian envoy to Paris.
Maher’s mission to Washington ended in September 1999. He has also served as his country’s envoy to Moscow.
The new minister is deemed an expert on Arab-US relations and has contributed columns to major Arabic newspapers like the London-based Al Hayat daily.
Maher is the grandson of the Ahmad Maher, who was Egypt’s prime minister during the 1940s – Albawaba.com
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