Last updated: 5 August, 2013

Ex-US envoy to Syria tipped for Egyptian post

Veteran Middle East diplomat Robert Ford is Secretary of State John Kerry’s choice to be the next US ambassador to Egypt, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Ford is best known for actively challenging Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and meeting with protesters when he was the US ambassador in Damascus 2011-2012. He was withdrawn when security markedly deteriorated in the war-torn country.

The Times, citing unnamed US officials, said that Kerry has recommended Ford for the job. President Barack Obama would have to approve the recommendation, and then Ford would still need approval by the senate before starting.

A career diplomat who is fluent in Arabic and French, Ford has served as US ambassador to Algeria (2006-2008), and was in Iraq in 2004-2006, and again in 2008-2009 as deputy chief of mission.

Other postings include Bahrain and Cairo, where he worked in the economic section of the US embassy, according to a State Department biography.

Ford would replace the current envoy, Anne Patterson, who has been ambassador since 2011 and was recently nominated for a senior State Department post.