US diplomat to visit Syria in bid to improve ties

The US Embassy in Damascus says a senior American diplomat will visit Syria soon in a new push to improve relations between the two countries. An Embassy spokeswoman says the upcoming visit by Jeffrey Feltman - the State Department's top diplomat for the Middle East - aims to build on his meeting last month with the Syrian ambassador in Washington. Katherine Vandevate says the visit seeks to advance the Obama administration's goals of resolving "our key differences with Syria and pursuing our shared objectives." US-Syrian relations have long been tense. The US ambassador was pulled out of Damascus in 2005 to protest Syria's suspected role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Damascus denied involvement.