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No decision yet on ambassador to Syria: US envoy

Washington has not yet taken a decision about returning its ambassador to Syria, a senior US envoy envoy: see diplomatic service.

Envoy - Motorola's integrated personal wireless communicator. Envoy is a personal digital assistant which incorporates two-way wireless and wireline communication.
 said in Lebanon on Sunday a day after visiting Damascus to mend ties.

"There is no decision made regarding an ambassador in Damascus," Jeffrey Feltman, a former ambassador to Lebanon and now acting secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, told reporters in Beirut.

Feltman and Daniel Shapiro on Saturday made the first high-profile visit to Syria in four years by top US envoys, amid Washington's declared intention to engage with all regional countries, even long-time foes.

Washington recalled its ambassador to Damascus following the February 2005 assassination Assassination
See also Murder.


Fanatical Moslem sect that smoked hashish and murdered Crusaders (11th—12th centuries). [Islamic Hist.: Brewer Note-Book, 52]


conspirator and assassin of Julius Caesar. [Br.
 of Lebanon's ex-premier Rafiq Hariri, widely blamed on Syria, but maintain an embassy in the Syrian capital.

Damascus has denied any involvement in Hariri's killing, but withdrew its troops from Lebanon two months later, ending almost three decades of domination.

On Saturday Feltman and Shapiro held four hours of talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem Walid al Muallem (born 1941) is the current foreign minister of Syria and a long-time diplomat for that country. He took office as foreign minister on February 11 2006 during a cabinet reshuffle in which his predecessor Farouk al-Sharaa became vice-president.  and other officials.

"What we did yesterday is give the Syrians the opportunity to raise their vision about the bilateral bilateral /bi·lat·er·al/ (-lat´er-al) having two sides, or pertaining to both sides.

1. Having or formed of two sides; two-sided.

 relationship, their concerns, and we were able to do the same," Feltman said in Beirut.

"Talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
lecture, speech

rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to
 people is not a reward. We talk to people in order to solve a problem," he added.

He also sought to ease Lebanese concerns about a US-Syria rapprochement saying: "There is no contradiction CONTRADICTION. The incompatibility, contrariety, and evident opposition of two ideas, which are the subject of one and the same proposition.
     2. In general, when a party accused of a crime contradicts himself, it is presumed he does so because he is guilty for
 between a strong support to Lebanon and an attempt to solve a problem through dialogue with Syria."

On Saturday, Feltman emerged from the talks with Muallem saying Syria can be a "constructive" Middle East force.

US-Syrian ties were especially tense under former president George W. Bush, who accused Damascus of supporting terrorism and of turning a blind eye to the flow of arms and supplies to insurgents Insurgents, in U.S. history, the Republican Senators and Representatives who in 1909–10 rose against the Republican standpatters controlling Congress, to oppose the Payne-Aldrich tariff and the dictatorial power of House speaker Joseph G. Cannon.  in Iraq.

The United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  has been also wary of Syrian support for Iran and for Lebanon's Shiite militant Hezbollah movement, which is a key member of the country's political opposition.

Washington considers Hezbollah a terrorist group and on Friday State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said the United States "is not ready" to follow Britain in opening contact with the group's political wing.

Feltman reiterated this view. "Our policy on Hezbollah has not changed. We do not see a distinction between a political wing and a military wing or a civil wing. It is all one organisation," he said.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Mar 8, 2009
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