US restoring ambassador to Syria
WASHINGTON - President Obama plans to return an ambassador to Syria, filling a post that has been vacant for four years and marking the acceleration of Washington’s engagement with the Arab world, the White House said yesterday.
Obama’s decision sought to fulfill his promise to show more US engagement in the Arab world and not a response to any explicit policy change on Syria’s part, presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
He cited a series of meetings between Syrian and US officials since Obama took office.
“This strongly reflects the administration’s recognition of the role Syria plays, and the hope of the role that the Syrian government can play constructively, to promote peace and stability in the region,’’ Gibbs said.
In a speech in Cairo this month, Obama outlined his determination to deepen America’s role in the Middle East as he seeks to broker peace among Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Imad Moustapha, Syrian ambassador to Washington, said that US-Syrian relations “were headed in the right direction.’’