Syrian flag raised over ambassy in Lebanon's Beirut

Syrian embassy is expected to be officially opened next week.

Syrian flag raised over ambassy in Lebanon's Beirut

A Syrian flag was raised on Friday over a building that will house the Syrian embassy in Beirut, another step towards the establishment of full diplomatic ties between Lebanon and Syria.

Three Syrian diplomats have been overseeing preparatory work at the building in Hamra street ahead of the official opening of the embassy. A placard identifying the building as the Syrian embassy was placed at the entrance and a Syrian flag flew above.

It will be the first time the Arab neighbours have full diplomatic ties since they won independence from France in the 1940s.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in October issued a decree to forge diplomatic relations with Lebanon after bilateral ties have thawed since the end of a Lebanese political crisis in May.

Lebanon appointed an ambassador to Syria last week but has yet to set up an embassy in Damascus. The government did not name the ambassador but political sources said Michel Khoury, Lebanon's ambassador to Cyprus, would head the mission.

Syria has not appointed its ambassador yet but the embassy is expected to be officially opened next week. It will be run by a charge d'affaires for the time being, officials say.

Damascus has been under Western pressure to take steps viewed as recognition of Lebanon's sovereignty, including opening an embassy in Beirut and demarcating borders with its smaller neighbour.

Syria dominated Lebanese politics for three decades until the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, which led to the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon.

Reuters
Last Mod: 26 Aralık 2008, 14:07
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