Monday,24 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1137, 28 February - 6 March 2013
Monday,24 September, 2018
Issue 1137, 28 February - 6 March 2013

Ahram Weekly

Speaking for power

Reem Leila profiles the president’s new spokesmen

Al-Ahram Weekly

On 20 February, a week after presidential spokesman Yasser Ali announced he was leaving his post President Mohamed Morsi appointed two new spokesmen.
Former diplomats Ihab Fahmi and Omar Amer will now speak on behalf of the president. They will take over from Ali, who has been moved to head the cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Centre, on 1 March.
Fahmi began his career with the Foreign Ministry in 1992. He has served as a political advisor at Egypt’s embassies in Rome, Paris and Algiers as well as heading Multilateral European affairs at the ministry, serving as the deputy head of European Union and Western European Affairs and the director of the office of the deputy minister for European affairs.
Amer served as a political advisor in Egypt’s Washington, Vienna and Canberra embassies and has acted as deputy head of the National Office for Egyptian-European Partnership. He has been an advisor within the minister’s office and deputy director of the Disarmament and Prevention of Nuclear Proliferation Administration.
The president met with both Fahmi and Amer to inform them with their new roles. Ali conducted a separate meeting with his successors to outline their job descriptions.
Fahmi said he hoped to meet both the president’s and media’s expectations in his new role. “It is an enormous challenge,” he added, “to follow the outstanding performance of Ali.”
Amer also acknowledged the difficulties of the new job. “Every day there is something new happening, whether on the domestic, international or regional front,” he said.
Last week presidential photographers issued pictures of the new spokesmen. During the session neither commented on events, pointing out that they would not be the official spokesmen until 1 March.
Media outlets first reported Ali was leaving his post two weeks ago. Some claimed his departure was the result of rumours that he had contracted an urfi marriage with a journalist at the privately owned Al-Youm Al-Sabei newspaper. The story remains unsubstantiated. The president’s office insisted “a new post was offered at Ali’s own request after he expressed his wish to quit as spokesman to avoid further media criticism”.
Ali was appointed presidential spokesman on 30 June after serving as Morsi’s spokesperson during the presidential campaign. Before that he was barely known outside the Muslim Brotherhood. A dermatologist who worked in Saudi Arabia for several years, unlike Suleiman Awad, the spokesman of former President Hosni Mubarak, Ali enjoyed a good reputation among media personnel for his active and continuous engagement with them.
“My new role is a relief. Since I began working at the president’s office I was heavily criticised by the opposition due to my affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Ali.

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