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Saturday, March 3, 2007

US breaking diplomatic embargo on Syria

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/03/us-breaking-diplomatic-embargo-on-syria.html

After vetoing Israeli peace talks with Syria, US is breaking its own diplomatic embargo, by joining in a regional conference in Iraq that includes Syria, and by sending an assistant secretary of state to Syria.
 

Senior US official to visit Syria   
The United States is to send a high-ranking official to Syria for the first time in two years.
 
Ellen Sauerbrey, the assistant secretary of state, will travel to Damascus "in coming weeks" as part of a regional tour dealing with "humanitarian issues related to Iraqi refugees," Sean McCormack, US state department spokesman, has said.
 

Sauerbrey will be the highest-ranking US official to visit Syria since early 2005, when Richard Armitage, then-deputy secretary of state, travelled to Damascus.

Talks 'not bilateral'
 
The United States withdrew its ambassador from Damascus after Syrian authorities were implicated in the February 2005  assassination in Beirut of Rafiq al-Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister.
 
Playing down the diplomatic significance of the trip, McCormack said Sauerbrey would be "paired" on the tour with a representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
 
"It's not a bilateral mission," he said.
 
But he said Sauerbrey, who handles refugee and migration affairs at the state department, would be authorised to meet with her Syrian  counterparts to discuss the refugee issue.
 
 
She will also visit Jordan and possibly other countries in the region, he said.
 
Strained ties
 
The administration of George Bush, the US president, accuses Syria of backing anti-US fighters in Iraq and supporting efforts by the  Lebanese Islamic movement Hezbollah to topple the pro-Western government of Lebanon.
 
 
But in an apparent sudden shift in policy, Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, announced this week that she and other US officials would join their Syrian and Iranian counterparts in coming weeks at conferences  on Iraq's future.
 
McCormack has refused to rule out bilateral contacts with Syrian and Iranian officials on the sidelines of those meetings, leaving the door ajar for what would amount to a major switch in Bush's policy of shunning what he considers rogue regimes, such as North  Korea.
 

Source: Agencies


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