Obama nominates Robert Ford as ambassador to Syria

15:20, February 17, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Robert Stephen Ford as the next ambassador to Syria Tuesday, the White House announced.

The nomination of Ford has been rumored for some time. The United States froze diplomatic relations with Syria by recalling Ambassador Margaret Scobey following the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Washington blamed it on Syria while Damascus denied the accusation.

The Obama administration, since it took office in January, 2009, has been pushing Syria to play a positive role in the Middle East.

Ford is presently deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Iraq. A career diplomat, he served as ambassador to Algeria, political counselor to the U.S. embassy in Iraq and deputy chief of mission in Bahrain.

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns is to visit Syria this week, and he is likely to discuss the return of the U.S. ambassador to Damascus with Syrian officials.

Source: Xinhua
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