Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week named a new envoy to deal with the Muslim world but her communications staff failed to make the nomination public. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly only released the information when journalists asked him during the daily media briefing about reports in India that a special representative for Muslim communities had been named. “Yes,” he said. “She’s actually a friend of mine. I worked with her very closely in the European Bureau, Farah Pandith. She was a special adviser for outreach to Muslim communities in Europe. The secretary has appointed her to more of a global role.”But Kelly was vague after a reporter asked when the nomination was made by Clinton, who has considerably lightened her workload at the State Department since breaking her elbow last Wednesday.
“I believe it was made two days ago,” the spokesman said, adding: “Yeah, it was either yesterday, or the day before.”
Asked why it had not been made public, he said: “There was an announcement. I know it was sent out to the State Department community. But we will put it out more broadly.”
When a journalist suggested the nomination might interest the broader Muslim community than just the State Department, he replied: “Fair point.”
In his inauguration speech on January 20, President Barack Obama vowed to seek a “new way forward” with the Muslim world “based on mutual interest and respect,” after eight rocky years under his predecessor George W. Bush.
Kelly promised to issue an official statement on Pandith’s nomination.