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US PR firm quits Egypt contract

PR firm Weber Shandwick logo [Wikipedia]
PR firm Weber Shandwick logo [Wikipedia]

A public affairs firm hired by the Egyptian government is withdrawing from its contract just six months after starting work.

Egypt hired Weber Shandwick for public affairs work in late January this year. The firm's work included media relations, stakeholder engagement, social media control, and other forms of communications to promote Egypt's strategic partnership with the United States.

According to Michele Guida, of the global corporate communications at the agency, the move to end the contract was a result of a buyout which caused it to review its accounts on behalf of foreign governments.

Former Weber subsidiary Cassidy & Associates has said it will continue lobbying on behalf of the Egyptian government. "Cassidy & Associates looks forward to continuing to represent the government of Egypt and highlight this important relationship with policy makers on Capitol Hill and in the administration."

Read: Egypt to spend nearly $2m to boost its image in the US

The Egyptian government hired the two firms for government relations. Egypt's General Intelligence Service was identified as the agency represented by the firm.

This was translated into an online campaign called Egypt Forward which shared positive news about Egypt along with work on Capitol Hill.

According to The Atlantic the decision to hire the firms shortly after President Donald Trump's inauguration was Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's desire to maintain closer ties with the White House and preserve US federal government aid package to Egypt.

Critics of Al-Sisi believe the agency ceased work because Al-Sisi, who took control of Egypt in a military coup in 2013, is unsaleable and he has caused damage to the country's reputation, international image and economy.

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