Bush months behind on Islamic envoy

Jan. 9, 2008 at 12:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush has yet to act on a 7-month-old promise to appoint an envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

The White House said there were no plans for Bush to use his week-long trip to six Middle Eastern countries that began Wednesday to name an envoy, the Washington Times reported Wednesday.

Bush made the promise in June at the Islamic Center of Washington and there was speculation he would use this week's visit to make the announcement.

The OIC is a grouping of 57 Muslim states with headquarters in Saudi Arabia. An envoy with ambassadorial rank would require U.S. Senate confirmation hearings. Thomas Lippman, a Saudi Arabia scholar at the Middle East Institute, told the Times that could be the reason nothing has been done.

"Most likely, they looked at the prospect of confirmation hearings and chickened out," Lippman said. "You can imagine what such hearings would have been like."

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