Syria severs ties with France over Lebanese presidential vote crisis

Syria has decided to stop talks with France over finding a solution to end Lebanon's presidential vote deadlock, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Wednesday. The measure - a tit-for-tat by Damascus just three days after French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he was ending talks with Syria over the Lebanese deadlock - not only further dents long-standing ties between France and Syria, but also indicates that Lebanon's crisis is nowhere near a quick resolution. "Syria has decided to stop Syrian-French cooperation to solve the Lebanese crisis," al-Moallem said at a news conference in Damascus. "It seems that the French have wanted to hold us responsible for their failure to convince the (anti-Syrian Lebanese parliamentary) majority to accept a French plan" for a solution. Al-Moallem also accused the United States of obstructing a solution to the deadlock.