Obama appoints new Mideast coordinator

Updated 04 March 2013
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Obama appoints new Mideast coordinator

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has appointed a new coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf, the White House announced Saturday.
Philip Gordon, a veteran foreign policy expert, will take up his post on March 11.
The appointment came two weeks before Obama is set to visit Israel, Ramallah in the occupied Palestinian territories and Jordan.
National Security Adviser Tom Donilon praised Gordon as a “key member” of Obama’s foreign policy team who was the “perfect person” to coordinate US policy.
“His work with our European allies and partners has been indispensable in helping us to formulate policy and address issues around the globe, including Libya, Syria and Iran,” Donilon said in a statement.
“His work on international security, international economics and European and Middle Eastern Affairs make him the perfect person to coordinate our policy in this time of great challenge and opportunity in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf.”
He joins a team that includes Puneet Talwar, special assistant to the president and senior director for the Gulf states, Iran and Iraq, and Prem Kumar, acting senior director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Gordon has served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs since May 2009, with responsibility for US policy in 50 countries, as well as NATO, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Before that, he was a foreign policy adviser to Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and served as director for European affairs at the National Security Council under president Bill Clinton.


Lebanese expats in the Middle East cast early ballots for parliamentary elections

Updated 24 min 51 sec ago
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Lebanese expats in the Middle East cast early ballots for parliamentary elections

BEIRUT: Lebanese expats are casting ballots in six Arab countries in the region, ahead of parliamentary elections due in Lebanon on May 6.
The voting abroad marks the first time that expats are allowed to participate in parliamentary elections.
The voting on Friday is being held in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Egypt.
It will be followed by voting Sunday for Lebanese residing in the Americas, Europe, Australia and Africa.
Lebanon’s state-run news agency says the number of registered voters is 82,970.
Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil tweeted that he was “very proud” to witness the first expat voting in the history of the Lebanese republic.
Lebanon is to hold its first parliamentary elections in nine years next month after parliament postponed elections several times over security reasons.