Majority supports Obama’s choice for ambassador to Syria

Nominee Robert Ford now needs to be approved by the full Senate.

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPOND
April 15, 2010 03:28
1 minute read.
Majority supports Obama’s choice for ambassador to Syria

obama points 224.88. (photo credit: AP)

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration’s nominee for ambassador to Syria received a majority in a vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday, despite allegations that Syria was transferring high-level weaponry to Hizbullah.

The committee approval, which was carried out by a voice rather than recorded vote, means that nominee Robert Ford now needs to be approved by the full Senate.

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It’s not clear the extent to which the reports about a Scud missile shipment from Damascus to Hizbullah could jeopardize the nomination, if at all.

The White House says it condemned the shipment, and that it had raised concerns about the situation with Syria.

While some Hill staffers indicated the Scud story would raise question marks that could delay the process, others noted backing for returning an ambassador to Syria and widespread support for Ford personally.

Several Republican senators have signed on to a letter demanding the administration provide reporting about activity connected to WMD capability transfer to Syria as mandated by law before they would approve Ford, though lack of unanimous consent doesn’t automatically sabotage the nomination.

Also Tuesday, more than three-quarters of the Senate signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressing the importance of US-Israel relations.

The senators write that the US “must never forget the depth and breadth of our alliance and always do our utmost to reinforce a relationship that has benefited both nations for more than six decades.”

The letter was strongly supported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

AP contributed to this report.


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