Lebanese Cabinet endorses ties with Syria

Information Minister says Lebanon's foreign minister has been tasked with making arrangements for opening embassy.

August 22, 2008 22:12
Lebanese Cabinet endorses ties with Syria

Tarek Mitri 224.88. (photo credit: AP)

Lebanon's Cabinet has formally approved the establishment of diplomatic ties with Syria and the opening of a Lebanese embassy in Damascus. Information Minister Tarek Mitri said after a Cabinet meeting late Thursday that Lebanon's foreign minister has been tasked with making arrangements for the embassy. He did not name a date for it to open. The government's approval was another step in normalizing long troubled relations between the neighboring countries, who earlier this month agreed to establish full diplomatic ties for the first time since they gained their independence from France in the 1940s. The two countries have also agreed to negotiate the demarcation of their border, a long-standing Lebanese demand. Syria controlled its smaller neighbor for nearly 30 years, until its direct hold was broken in 2005. For years Damascus resisted the establishment of diplomatic ties, and only agreed to it after a political compromise between Lebanon's feuding factions created a unity government where Syrian ally Hizbullah has considerable weight. Its assent also came after a figure seen as relatively friendly to Syria - Michel Suleiman - was installed as Lebanon's president.

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