Robert Malley, a top Middle East advisor that US President-elect Barack Obama promised months ago would play no role in his administration due to ties to Hamas, has reportedly been sent out on the next administration's first diplomatic mission.
According to a report in Middle East Newsline, Obama dispatched Malley to Egypt and Syria late last week with a message that the he intends to mend and bolster relations with both nations, and to give greater weight to their concerns regarding regional conflicts than did President George W. Bush.
During the Democratic Party primaries, Obama was lashed by critics for having Malley on his team after the latter admitted to being in regular contact with Hamas as part of his work with the International Crisis Group.
Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt quickly responded at the time that Malley had provided "informal advice to the campaign in the past," but insisted that he had "no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future."
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