Sisi approves diplomatic reshuffle after months-long delay
 
 

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has signed off on the annual diplomatic reshuffle, sources from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Mada Masr on Saturday. This comes after the General Intelligence Service rejected a number of Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s proposed appointments, because of the candidates’ political stances. 

This is the second year in a row that news of the reshuffle, expected to be announced on Sunday, August 25, has been delayed from its usual spring release. 

Yasser Reda and Ehab Badawy are expected to remain ambassadors to the US and France, respectively. New appointments include Khaled Galal, current Assistant Foreign Minister for Minister’s Cabinet Affairs, who is expected to replace Badr Abdel Aty as ambassador to Germany. Abdel Aty has enjoyed staunch support from Shoukry throughout his tenure, despite an ongoing investigation by the Administrative Control Authority on charges of embezzlement which began two years ago. 

Ahmed Farouk is being considered for the ambassadorship to Saudi Arabia, a highly sensitive role given tensions between the kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, Egypt’s other close ally in the Gulf. Sources predict that Mohamed al Badry, Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab Affairs, will be appointed ambassador to China. The post is seen as particularly significant given the ongoing trade war between China and the United States, both key allies for Egypt.

Yasser Elwy, head of the ministry’s Arab Affairs Sector, is expected to become ambassador to Lebanon. 

There has been unease in the ministry since diplomat and writer Ezzedine Choukri Fishere published a post on Facebook announcing his termination from the ministry. Fishere, who requested an extension of his unpaid leave in order to continue teaching at Dartmouth College in the United States, said he was given a choice between resigning or facing termination and was told he had “crossed all political red lines.”

Fishere recently published an op-ed in the Washington Post criticizing the country’s leadership after the passage of the most recent constitutional amendments. 

His case echoes those of many previous diplomats who were removed from their posts by presidential decree for straying beyond the state’s political lines and not showing enough loyalty to the current government. 

Shoukry sought to delay the announcement of the reshuffle even further in order to distance it from Fishere’s post, which was published on August 22, according to a ministry source, who added that Fishere has a large social media following and a high profile internationally.

Diplomats who have been transferred for political reasons in the past have sometimes chosen to settle for early retirement or resignation. Some have chosen to litigate against the government, including one diplomat who spoke with Mada Masr. The diplomat said, however, that cases like these tend to take a long time, “for obvious reasons.”

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