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Ex-Al Jazeera anchor to be ministry spokesperson.

Dubai Former Al Jazeera anchor Luna Al Shibl will become the Syrian foreign ministry spokesperson, regional media reported.

Citing sources in Damascus, Abu Dhabi-based Sky News Arabia reported that former Syrian journalist Luna Al Shibl will replace Jihad Maqdisi as spokesperson for the Syrian foreign ministry. Media reports last week indicated that Maqdisi had defected and left for London, but not confirmation had come.

Al Shibl had been working as media adviser to the Syrian regime previously. She has appeared on pro-Bashar Al Assad media and harshly criticised Al Jazeera's coverage, accusing the channel of fabricating news.

Al Shibl is the wife of Ghassan Kulayb, also a former Al Jazeera journalist who now works for the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen news channel. Al Mayadeen, made up largely of Al Jazeera journalists who resigned following the start of the Arab Spring and the Syrian conflict, is headed by Gassan Bin Jiddo, former Beirut correspondent for Al Jazeera, and funded by an undisclosed group of businessmen

Meanwhile, Germany on Monday expelled four employees of the Syrian embassy in Berlin, the foreign minister said, as part of moves to sharply curb ties to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

"We are sending a clear message with the expulsion of four Syrian embassy staff that we are reducing relations with the [Al] Assad regime to an absolute minimum," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.

"We are counting on the [opposition] national coalition growing more stable and developing as soon as possible functioning institutions for the political transition," he added.

The ministry said that Syria's acting envoy to Berlin had been informed of the decision earlier Monday and that the staff had until Thursday "to leave their posts".

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Dec 11, 2012
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