Congressional language accompanying a bill signed by President Bush urges appointing a Middle East peace envoy.
The language is in the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee report accompanying the 2008 foreign operations bill passed and signed in late December 2007.
“The Committee encourages the Secretary of State to establish, at an appropriate time, a location for which a Special Envoy for Middle East peace may operate on an ongoing basis,” it says.
Report language is not binding but guides the executive branch as to the intent of lawmakers.
Bush has resisted calls for a Middle East envoy throughout his presidency, believing the depth of such an involved U.S. role does not comport with his philosophy of letting the parties take the lead in peacemaking.
The language, buried between a section on science fellowships and a section on staffing, was publicized last week by Americans for Peace Now.
The Quartet grouping supporting Middle East peace – Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations – has such an envoy: former British prime minister Tony Blair.