Saleh Shoukry

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File:sameh.jpg Foreign Minister Saleh Shoukry

You represent the legitimately appointed Foreign Minister of President Sisi's government. After the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted from power, a new election was held and Sisi elected. You were appointed to serve as Egypt's chief diplomat. You are a moderate, professional diplomat. Unlike the deposed President Morsi and the members of his government, you hold no deep ideological convictions. Rather, you are a technocrat. You seek to advance the position of Egypt as a nation, not as an ideological cause. This frees you to work with many different players, without concern for religious underpinnings. You are what many people in Egypt have been calling for since the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood, to wit, a diplomat whose duty is to advance the goals of Egypt, not of a particular ideology.

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The Position of Foreign Minister

As the Foreign Minister of Egypt, it is your duty to argue for your nation's goals on an international stage. While the President may decide on a particular course of action, it is your duty to present that decision to the world. The Foreign Minister is expected to negotiate with other foreign dignitaries in order to advance her nation's causes. This means fully understanding your nation's positions and goals. Perhaps the more difficult part is understanding the positions of other nations. Many nations will have concerns about your goals and how these goals impact their positions. It is your duty to engage with these concerns and to demonstrate how your goals will benefit all those involved. This means that you are expected to have a working knowledge of the positions of those countries you are involved with.

The Foreign Minister is Egypt's chief diplomat and its ranking expert on international policy. The Foreign Minister is expected to provide reliable advice to the President about the positions of other nations and their leaders. The Foreign Minister is expected to point out the potential resistance from other nations that a particular policy might engender. Many would consider this the Foreign Minister's most important role. He is the mine detector for the President. His job is to know the international stage well enough that he can predict the potential risk ahead of time, and advise the President on ways in which to mitigate these dangers.

Lastly, the Foreign Minister will be the premier negotiator for the government. The Foreign Minister is expected to create and maintain ties with other dignitaries. Using these connections, he can rally support for policies and projects before the Prime Minister or President brings them to center stage. His job here is to set the stage for the President and Prime Minister. Through the use of private communiques, he can discuss issues with other dignitaries and attempt to build support before a project is formally put forth. Communiques remove a lot of the guesswork from the equation. By directly communicating with foreign governments, the Foreign Minister can determine their policies, and help assuage their concerns.

The Foreign Minister has a long list of tasks that he is expected to achieve. His chief tool is his knowledge. A good Foreign Minister is well-apprised of news and the positions of others. While other members of the Egyptian team may be seen as dealing with problems as they arise, or hammering out major issues, the Foreign Minister is dedicated to smoothing bumps before they become potholes, and ensuring the smooth enactment of the national agenda. Particular Concerns

Particular Concerns

One of the major reasons for the failure of the Muslim Brotherhood government was its failure to stoke the economic furnace. During the Morsi Presidency, the Egyptian economy continued to contract and weaken. The Sisi government has taken a very proactive approach to this economic crisis. You have traveled across the Middle East and Europe seeking to shore up ties with any nation that will hear you. You are selling the "product" of Egypt as a stable partner in business, with a solid government, and strong economic goals. Egypt is posed to widen the Suez Canal, and to double its capacity. For this project to bear fruit, nations must trust in the stability of the nation through which they are routing their shipping. Egypt must project a united image to the international community.

Another key concern is re-starting the Egyptian tourism industry. Egypt is hugely reliant on this particular segment of the economy. However, with the instability of the Morsi government and the riots in Tahrir Square, Egypt has seen a stark drop in tourism. This hits working class Egyptians, those who are most engaged in this industry, the hardest. It is incredibly important that your government present Egypt as a stable, moderate, and welcoming nation. You are a nation of immense historic wealth. However, people won't come and visit without the feeling of security.

Israel and Palestine

To Egypt's credit, it has been a leading power in recent months. The Gaza-Israel War presented your nation with a chance to flex its political muscle. Egypt is perhaps the only nation respected by both Israel and, to a lesser degree, Hamas. Israel respects Egypt because it has maintained a long-standing peace and security agreement for many decades. Hamas respects Egypt because of the incredibly strong Pro-Palestinian sentiment in Egypt. This sentiment constrains the actions of Egyptian government. Should Egypt grow too close to Israel, Egyptian residents will demonstrate their discontent in the streets.

Egypt has long recognized that this unique relationship has provided it with a huge source of international prestige. It alone can provide a neutral ground for negotiations between Israel and Hamas. Egypt has frequently seized upon this situation to allow it to be seen as a peacemaker in the Middle East. The central role of Egypt in these proceedings lends the government an undeniable degree of credibility. However, Egypt has clear goals that it wishes to achieve through these negotiations. First, it does not want an Islamist state in Gaza. Therefore, it insisted that the PA negotiate on behalf of Palestinians. Egypt also wants to ensure that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not become its problem. To insure this, it has kept its borders with Gaza closed. As long as Palestinians are in Gaza, they aren't starving in Egypt and Egypt's image remains clean. Most importantly, you have maintained Egypt's image by being actively engaged. You issued the first cease-fire proposal; you brought the two sides together; you passed secret messages between Israel and Hamas so that they could negotiate without either of their populaces knowing about it. Because you took such an aggressive and energetic role, you got the credit with your people and the international community.

As the Foreign Minister, it was your goal to sit down with the participants. It is your duty to pass the secret messages and to conduct negotiations behind closed doors. The reason for this is to provide the President with some degree of insulation, should things go south. While you are appointed, he is elected. In a certain sense, then, this means that his position is less stable than yours--you must seek to protect the President.

Powers and Duties

As the Foreign Minister you should make extensive use of private communiques. You should use them to directly communicate with other diplomats and to determine their positions. You should also use them to provide private assurances, and to negotiate points that may not be appropriate for public debate. You are encouraged to use public comments on the Press Releases of others to either lend support or to correct misunderstandings. It is not your duty to dominate the public domain, but to bring understanding for your nation's point of view. You are Egypt's chief negotiator and foreign policy expert.

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