Clinton says Syria must still address US concerns

February 24, 2010 23:09

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the Obama administration's decision to return an American ambassador to Syria after a five-year absence does not mean US concerns about the country have been addressed.

Speaking to lawmakers on Wednesday, Clinton said the recent nomination of career diplomat Robert Ford to be the new US envoy in Damascus is a sign of a "slight opening" with Syria. But she said Washington remains troubled by suspected Syrian support for militant groups in Iraq and elsewhere, interference in Lebanon and Syria's close relationship with Iran.

President Barack Obama formally nominated Ford to the post last week. Former US president George W. Bush's administration withdrew the last US ambassador to Syria in 2005 to protest its actions in Lebanon after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which his supporters blamed on Syria.

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