- By Laura RozenLaura Rozen writes The Cable daily at ForeignPolicy.com.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is coming to Washington August 17 for a White House meeting, a former U.S. government consultant said he was recently told by Egyptian officials. Mubarak had originally been invited to the White House in May, but had to delay his trip due to the death of his grandson. A White House official said he wasn’t confirming or denying the meeting, because it hasn’t yet been publicly announced.
Arab governments would like the Obama administration to make a more public statement outlining its plan for advancing Middle East peace before the start of Ramadan (which begins around August 20), the former government consultant, who asked to speak on background, said.
The month-long Ramadan holiday is expected to slow down Arab government activity in a crucial period, as the United States is trying to prepare for talks to advance the peace process.
"The U.S. has been working very hard to rebuild the U.S. Egyptian partnership," said the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Jon Alterman, who said he was not previously aware of the planned Mubarak visit. "You saw that with the president going to Cairo …. I think the Obama administration has concluded that this is an important Arab relationship, and there’s clearly a desire to walk away from the spirit of confrontation that many Egyptians and many Americans felt characterized the relationship for much of the last eight years."
"But where this [visit] fits into a broader strategy, I don’t know," Alterman said.
Mubarak’s last visit to the United States was in 2004, when he visited former President George W. Bush in Crawford Texas, and he last visited Washington in 2003.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |