Syria to send ambassador to Paris to end freeze on ties

Damascus will soon send a new ambassador to Paris and end a freeze on diplomatic ties, Syria's top diplomat in London said Tuesday. Sami Khiyami said a new representative would likely be sent to France in the very near future. Syria has not had an ambassador in Paris since 2006. Ties between Paris and Damascus soured over the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. Syria has always denied any involvement in Hariri's death. Khiyami said Tuesday that France had realized that relations with Syria were vital to bringing peace to the Middle East. However, he declined to say whether Syrian President Bashar Assad would announce the appointment of a new Paris ambassador during talks in France this weekend.