Jerusalem – The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that Presidential-elect Barack Obama has dispatched his senior foreign policy adviser Robert Malley to Egypt and Syria to outline the Democrat’s policy on the Middle East.
Mr. Malley, who served in the Clinton administration, relayed a pledge from Mr. Obama that the United States would seek to enhance relations with Cairo as well as reconcile differences with Damascus.
“The tenor of the messages was that the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian interests,” an aide to Mr. Malley said.
The aide said Obama plans to launch a U.S. diplomatic initiative toward Syria, regarded by the Bush administration as a leading supporter of the al-Qaida insurgency in Iraq. Mr. Obama, unlike President George W. Bush, has also â€¨supported Israeli peace negotiations with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Mr. Malley, his aides said, met both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and with Mr. Assad to explain Mr. Obama’s agenda for the Middle East.
These aides said that Mr. Obama told Mr. Mubarak that the United States would maintain military and civilian aid and sell advanced F-16 aircraft to Cairo. Egypt has not ordered F-16s in nearly a decade.
Mr. Malley, in his capacity as a senior advisor to President Clinton at the failed Camp David talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, incurred the wrath of many Israeli officials when he laid some of the blame for the failure of the Camp David talks on Israel.