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WASHINGTON - David Satterfield, a veteran US diplomat with deep experience in the Middle East, is the leading candidate to be nominated as US ambassador to Egypt, two US officials said on Thursday.
Egypt is of strategic importance to the United States because of its control of the Suez Canal, its border and peace treaty with Israel and its status as the most populous Arab nation. It has been without a US ambassador for over a year.The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Satterfield's post as the top US diplomat for the Middle East will end if the US Senate confirms David Schenker as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. Satterfield has that job on an acting basis for nearly a year.
The White House, which nominates US ambassadors, declined comment on Satterfield emerging as the leading candidate to head the US embassy in Cairo, as did the State Department.
A former US official said Satterfield had particularly good contacts with the Egyptian military because of his 2009 to 2017 service heading the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in the Sinai Peninsula, which oversees security provisions of the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.
Satterfield has previously served as the deputy US chief of mission in Iraq, ambassador to Lebanon, director for Near Eastern affairs on the National Security Council as well as in Syria, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
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