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Robert_Stephen_FordSyria has officially  accepted Washington’s nominee for the first US ambassador to Damascus in five years, a US official said Friday as the Obama administration tries to engage Syria in Arab-Israeli peace talks.

Washington decided to withdraw its ambassador to Damascus following the killing of Lebanon’s former  Prime Minister Rafik al- Hariri  on  February 14, 2005.

“We have agreement from the Syrians on our candidate.” a senior State Department official said.

The US official declined to confirm or deny  media reports that the United States has nominated Robert Stephen Ford , a career diplomat from the state of Maryland, with experience in Arab countries like Algeria and Iraq, his most recent posting. The US official said : “the White House will officially announce the name of the new ambassador when it is approved by the Senate.”Ford is currently serving as the US deputy ambassador in Iraq. In addition to English Ford  speaks  Arabic, French, German and Turkish..

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