U.S. Mideast Security Envoy Ward to Leave Post After Pullout

Lieutenant General William Ward will be promoted in rank and moved to a different position in the U.S. military, Pentagon says.

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The U.S.'s security coordinator in the Middle East, Lieutenant General William Ward, is slated to leave his current post after the implementation of the disengagement plan, American diplomatic sources said on Saturday.

Ward will be promoted in rank and moved to a different position in the U.S. military, the Pentagon announced this weekend. An American spokeswoman refused to say if a date has been fixed for Ward?s departure or if a replacement has been named.

Ward on Saturday accompanied Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is currently on a surprise visit to the region, to the West Bank town of Ramallah were she met with Palestinian leaders.

Ward assumed his current position as the Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army in Europe and the Seventh Army in 2003. Defense Minister Donald Rumsfeld has recommended the promotion of Ward to a four-star army general and his naming as deputy commander of United States European Command (EUCOM).

Israel and the Palestinian Authority are included under the area of responsibility of EUCOM. Ward?s appointment still requires the Senat's approval, but is not expected to encounter any opposition.

Israel has attributed Ward only partial success in imporving Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' grip on his security forces, which are supposed to fight terrorism.

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