WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- As Vice President Dick Cheney prepares for his tour of the Arab world next month, the State Department's Near East Affairs Bureau is wooing his daughter for a high-level post, United Press International has learned.
Earlier this month, the State Department officially offered Elizabeth Cheney-Perry a job as the deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs for regional economic issues, according to State Department and administration officials.
These officials -- who spoke on condition of anonymity -- tell UPI the new post was created specifically for the vice president's daughter, adding that she will work primarily on economic development in the Middle East.
"We are delighted to have her join our team," a State Department official told UPI on Thursday. "She brings a strong legal and economic background to the job." Another State Department official said Cheney-Perry was expected to start work in April, though other sources at the department say she has yet to formally accept the offer.
The vice president's office and the Near East Affairs Bureau have clashed repeatedly on Middle East policy. For example, shortly after Israel seized a cargo ship loaded with weapons headed for the Palestinian territories, the vice president's office suggested diplomatically isolating Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The State Department, on the other hand, favored a softer line of criticizing Arafat in public but not making policy changes.
The vice president's staff has also supported a much more aggressive policy on Iraq, such as sponsoring activities by U.S.-supported rebels inside the country. The State Department until this week however had blocked all U.S. funding for such plans.
The vice president's office did not return telephone calls Thursday about Cheney-Perry's appointment, and a White House spokesman referred UPI's inquiry to the State Department.
Cheney-Perry graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1996 and has since worked on international development issues at the Washington offices of White & Case, a law firm specializing in international law with offices on five continents.
Prior to attending law school, Cheney-Perry worked for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development between 1989 and 1993. After 1993, she took a job at Armitage Associates LLP, the consulting firm founded by the current deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage. "She is actually an Armitage person, which a lot of people at the department are," one senior State Department official told UPI on Thursday.