US ambassador expected in Syria this month

WASHINGTON- The first US ambassador to be posted in Damascus since 2005 was expected to arrive in the country by the end of the month, the State Department said Friday.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swore in Robert Ford on Friday, and her spokesman Philip Crowley said the new ambassador would be in Damascus "before the end of January."

The United States withdrew its ambassador after the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in a massive car bomb that was widely blamed on Syria. Damascus has always denied the allegations.
US President Barack Obama named Ford to the post last February, but because of Republican opposition was not able to confirm the appointment until December 29, when he bypassed Congress while it was not in session.
"(Ford) is one of our most qualified US diplomats," Crowley said of the veteran Arab world envoy, who has served as ambassador to Algeria and held senior posts in the US embassy in Baghdad.
The spokesman added that the appointment should not be viewed as a "reward" for the Syrian government.
"A high-level representative in Damascus will make it possible to deliver strong, consistent messages to the Syrian government and further US interests and security," he said.
The appointment of an ambassador to Damascus was widely seen as part of Obama's policy of reaching out to US adversaries, which has been slammed by Republicans as giving "concessions" to them.

Saturday, January 8th 2011

New comment:

News | Politics | Culture | Education | Interview | Features | Arts | Media | Science I Tech | Entertainment | Society | Travel | Sport