Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Air Algérie crash site located, France sending military unit

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

Middle east

US to return ambassador to Damascus, media reports say

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-24

US President Barack Obama will nominate an ambassador to Syria, four years after the US envoy in Damascus was recalled to protest the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, media reports say.

REUTERS - President Barack Obama has decided to return a U.S. ambassador to Syria after a four-year hiatus as talks between the two nations intensify, U.S. media reported on Tuesday.

 

The State Department informed Syria's ambassador to Washington, Imad Mustafa, of Obama's intention on Tuesday night, a senior administration official told the Washington Post.

 

By returning a senior U.S. envoy to Damascus, Obama is seeking to carve out a far larger role for the United States in the region as he works to rehabilitate U.S. relations with the Islamic world and the Arab Middle East, the newspaper said.

 

"It's in our interests to have an ambassador in Syria," a senior administration official told CNN.

 

Ambassador Mustafa welcomed the decision to name a U.S. envoy to increase dialogue among stakeholders in the Middle East, CNN said. The announcement of a new ambassador is expected to be made later this week but no individual has been chosen to fill the post, the report states.

 

A State Department spokesperson was not immediately available late on Tuesday.

 

Washington withdrew its ambassador from Syria in 2005 to protest the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

 

The United Nations has cleared the way for a tribunal to investigate the circumstances of that killing. A preliminary report from the U.N. implicated several Syrian and Lebanese officials in the assassination.

 

Relations between Syria and the United States improved after Obama took office in January and U.S. officials said he was committed to seeking a peace deal between Syria and Israel as part of an overall Middle East peace deal.

 

The Syrian government, however, remains under U.S. sanctions, partly because of what the United States describes as a Syrian role in helping insurgents infiltrate Iraq.

 

The decision to appoint a U.S. ambassador follows a series of recent visits to Damascus by high-level U.S. military and diplomatic delegations, including a trip there this month by Obama's Middle East envoy, George J. Mitchell.

 

"We've been having more and more discussions, and we need to have someone there to engage," the administration official told CNN.

 

Recent post-election unrest in Iran was not directly responsible for the decision to increase direct ties to Syria, the source told CNN.

 

 

Date created : 2009-06-24

COMMENT(S)