'US considers lifting Syrian sanctions'

Senior US officials encouraged by improved relations with France, renewed Syria-Lebanon diplomatic ties.

October 5, 2008 18:12
'US considers lifting Syrian sanctions'

assad suleiman 224,88 ap. (photo credit: AP [file])


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Washington is considering a change to its Syria policy in the near future that would entail lifting sanctions against the country but would not include returning the US ambassador to Damascus, Israel Radio quoted senior US officials as saying on Sunday. The officials said discussions were being held on how the US could best influence Syria, in light of the country's recently improved relations with France and President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Damascus last month. A US official said there were several encouraging signals from the Syrians, including the decision to open diplomatic ties with Lebanon. On Thursday, a senior Israeli diplomatic official said Jerusalem had no problem with the US engaging in dialogue with Damascus. The Israeli official spoke in response to two US-Syrian meetings held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York earlier last week. "The Syrians are putting out all kinds of feelers to the US to set things in motion before the upcoming [American] elections," the official said. "Damascus has already gotten credit for engaging in indirect talks with Israel and is now trying to capitalize on that with the Americans."

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