Lebanon okays 1st Syrian ambassador to Beirut

Lebanon's official news agency says the country has approved the appointment of Syria's first ever ambassador to Beirut. Tuesday's report said President Michel Suleiman accepted Ali Abdul-Karim Ali as Syria's top diplomat in Lebanon. It's the final formal step in normalizing relations between the two nations that gained independence from France in the 1940s. Syria has come under international pressure in recent years to formally recognize the smaller neighbor it dominated politically and militarily for three decades. Diplomatic ties were established last year. Beirut appointed an ambassador and opened its embassy in Damascus earlier in March. Syrian opened an embassy in Beirut but no ambassador was named until Tuesday's announcement.