|Daily Press Briefing (Corrected)|
Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman
September 5, 2007
MR. CASEY: Okay. Well, good afternoon everybody. I actually do have a small personnel announcement to share with you as we start the briefing today.
The United States is pleased to support the mission of Quartet envoy Tony Blair by offering Ambassador Don Bandler, a senior retired U.S. diplomat of considerable experience, to serve as the Quartet Representative's Head of Mission in Jerusalem. He will, in fact, be based in Jerusalem and is taking part in former Prime Minister Blair's current visit to the region.
This is part of a commitment that the Quartet made at the time of Mr. Blair's appointment to have some officials seconded from the various Quartet governments to be based in Jerusalem to be able to support his mission. And so Mr. Bandler, former Ambassador Bandler, will be the U.S. representative in this effort, and we look forward to him continuing on with his work with former Prime Minister Blair now and in the future.
QUESTION: Where was he ambassador to?
MR. CASEY: He was Ambassador to Cyprus, as Mr. Lambros probably knows.
MR. CASEY: I could get you -- I can get you a -- the bio for him, in full and in complete. But among the other positions he's held, he's been Ambassador to Cyprus. He was Special Assistant to the President and Counselor at the National Security Advisor handling issues related to the NATO summit, Deputy Chief of Mission in Paris, has extensive experience elsewhere in Europe and the Middle East.
QUESTION: Can I --
QUESTION: Will he -- will his mandate be limited, like Tony Blair's, to infrastructure building?
MR. CASEY: Well, he is, in effect, a staff support for former Prime Minister Blair and therefore will be helping Prime Minister Blair carry out his mandate. Yeah.
QUESTION: So no diplomacy here?
MR. CASEY: No. Again, he's there to support Prime Minister Blair, and the mandate for him is as given by the Quartet.
QUESTION: Sorry to get down into the weeds on this, but does he have a title and does he have colleagues from other countries who are also --
MR. CASEY: Well, he will be the Quartet Representative's Head of Mission, would be his title.
QUESTION: So he's like the chief of staff or something?
MR. CASEY: Effectively, yeah.
QUESTION: And --
MR. CASEY: And yes, other -- the other members of the Quartet, as I understand it, either will have or will be very shortly announcing some of their contributions to this effort as well.
QUESTION: And then getting back to the whole thing about Blair's mission, so does he get paid by the U.S. to do this?
MR. CASEY: You know, I actually don't know whether he's compensated for this in any particular way. I'll have to find out.
QUESTION: You mean he might be a volunteer?
MR. CASEY: Well, he's a retired -- a distinguished retired diplomat, Matt. I am unaware of what forms of compensation he may have for this activity.
QUESTION: Will he report to the State Department on his own?
MR. CASEY: He will report to Prime -- former Prime Minister Blair. He is, again, the Head of Mission for Prime Minister Blair. And again, this is -- why are we doing this? We're doing this because at the time of Prime Minister Blair's appointment by the Quartet, it was agreed that understandably former Prime Minister Blair would require some staff to work with him and support his efforts. So he is, in effect, seconded to the Office of the Quartet Representative to the Office of Prime Minister Blair and will be heading that effort.