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U.S. lifts sanctions on former Syrian PM

(Xinhua)

09:34, August 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Tuesday lifted sanctions on former Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab, who defected to Jordan early this month.

The Department of Treasury said it took the action because Hijab "is no longer a senior official of the government of Syria."

"Hijab's name will be removed from Treasury's Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, and he is no longer subject to an asset freeze," the department said in a statement.

Hijab was put on the list on July 18 by the Treasury along with 28 other senior officials in his cabinet.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appointed Wael al-Halki as the new prime minister last Thursday following Hijab's defection the previous day.

David Cohen, under secretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, urged more Syrian officials to break with the Syrian government, which is fighting opposition forces in some parts of the country.

In his first public appearance in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Tuesday, Hijab used a press conference to call on Syrian officials and officers to defect and join the opposition.

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