Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DOWN TO EARTH

DR Congo's reconciliation farm

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Google Was Making A Space Elevator And A Hoverboard, But Couldn't Get Them To Work

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bitter pill to swallow

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Investors take fright over Google results

Read more

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism

Read more

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism (part 2)

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Rwandan singer amongst terror plot suspects

Read more

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

  • Wheelchair-bound Bouteflika votes in Algerian election

    Read more

  • Films by four French directors short-listed for Cannes' top prize

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Frantic search for survivors of sunken South Korea ferry

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

Africa

Washington appoints first ambassador to Syria in five years

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-02-17

Washington has said that the diplomat Robert Ford would take over the post of ambassador to Syria, pending a Senate confirmation. The Obama administration has moved to improve relations with Syria, after a five-year lapse in formal diplomatic ties.

 

REUTERS - President Barack Obama took a major step toward improving strained ties with Syria on Tuesday, announcing his intention to reappoint a U.S.  ambassador to Damascus after a five-year absence.
 
The White House said Obama had nominated career diplomat Robert Ford to the post. The nomination must still be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

“His appointment represents President Obama’s commitment to use engagement to advance U.S. interests by improving communication with the Syrian government and people,” the White House said in a statement.
 
If confirmed, Ford “will engage the Syrian government on how we can enhance relations, while addressing areas of ongoing concern,” it said.
 
The United States withdrew its ambassador from Damascus in 2005 after the assassination in Beirut of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. Syria’s foes in Lebanon accused Damascus of involvement, a charge Syria denied.
 
Syrian and Lebanese media have been reporting for weeks that Obama intended to appoint Ford. Now deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, he previously served as ambassador to Algeria from 2006 to 2008 and deputy chief of mission in Bahrain between 2001 and 2004.
 
A pro-government Syrian newspaper said last week that Damascus had approved a U.S. request to reappoint its ambassador.
 
Relations between Washington and Damascus have improved since Obama took office 13 months ago. Analysts say Washington is hoping to pull Syria away from Iran and get its help in stabilizing neighboring Iraq.
 
Nevertheless Obama renewed sanctions against Syria last May, accusing it of supporting terrorism, pursuing weapons of mass destruction and destabilizing Iraq, with which it shares a long, porous border that has been a conduit for al Qaeda fighters.
 
Syria and Iran are the main backers of Hezbollah, a Shi’ite Muslim political and guerrilla group in Lebanon that fought a war against Israel in 2006.

 

Date created : 2010-02-17

Comments

COMMENT(S)