Special Obama Envoy Speaks to Mubarak

Feb 1, 2011 11:49am

Frank Wisner, the former US Ambassador to Egypt whom President Obama dispatched to Cairo to talk to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has spoken to the embattled Egyptian leader, an administration source tells ABC News.

Wisner, known to have a close relationship with Mubarak and top Egyptian government officials, served as US Ambassador to Egypt for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush.

He was sent by President Obama to deliver a message about how to best prepare for an “orderly transition” from the current government to one that respects democracy, economic and political reforms, and human rights.

The White House insists this push for a “transition” does not necessarily mean a transition to a government that Mubarak is not heading – officials say Egyptians will pick their leaders, not the U.S. – but White House officials also refuse to comment on whether Wisner has being tasked with gingerly showing Mubarak the door.

Meanwhile the US Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey, spoke on the phone today with Mohamed ElBaradei, the leading opposition figure in Egypt.

A spokesman for the embassy tells ABC News: “Our embassy in Cairo maintains an active outreach to a wide range of political and civil society reps in Cairo, and the mission has  been especially busy in the last several days to help convey our strong support for orderly transition.  One such contact was between the Ambassador and Mohammad ElBaradei today.”

It seems significant not only that Scobey spoke with ElBaradei about the “orderly transition,” but that the official face of the US is talking to ElBaradei while the unofficial back-channel envoy is talking with Mubarak.

-Jake Tapper and Kirit Radia

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