Lebanon endorses diplomatic ties with Syria

Lebanon's unity cabinet has formally approved diplomatic ties with Syria and the opening of a Lebanese embassy in Damascus. Information Minister Tarek Mitri said following a Cabinet meeting late Thursday that the Lebanese foreign minister had been entrusted with following up on the mechanism to set up the embassy. He did not set a time frame. Lebanon and Syria agreed earlier this month to establish full diplomatic ties for the first time since they gained their independence from France in the 1940s. They also agreed to negotiate the demarcation of their border, a longtime demand of the Lebanese as they seek to normalize relations with their long dominant larger neighbor. Syria controlled Lebanon for nearly 30 years until its direct hold was broken in 2005.