• Short Summary

    The first U.S. Ambassador to Syria since the two countries broke diplomatic relations in June,?

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    The first U.S. Ambassador to Syria since the two countries broke diplomatic relations in June, 1967 presented his credentials in Damascus on Monday (9 September). Mr. Richard Murphy handed Syrian President Hafez al-Assad his credientials -- signed by former President Nixon -- at a special ceremony in the Presidential Palace.

    Ambassador Murphy surprised the Syrians by reading -- in Arabic -- a letter from President Gerald Ford to President Assad.

    The Syrian Foreign Minister, Abdel Halim Khaddam, also attended the ceremony. Mr. Khaddam was in Washington last month on an official visit.

    The two countries broke diplomatic ties during the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war -- the ties were resumed in June this year.

    SYNOPSIS: The first United States Ambassador to Syria for seven years arrived at the Presidential Palace in Damascus Monday to ???sent his credentials. The new Ambassador -- Mr. Richard Murphy -- is a career diplomat and an expert in Arab affairs.

    Syria severed her diplomatic ties with the United States during the June Nineteen Sixty Seven Arab-Israeli war. Although the ties were restored in June this year, Monday's special ceremony marked the return of full diplomatic links between the two nations. Ambassador Murphy began his diplomatic career ever twenty years age and has held posts in Boirut, Jeddah and Amman. Most recently he was the U.S. Ambassador in Mauritania.

    Inside the Palace, Ambassador Murphy was welcomed by President Hafez al-Assad. Alse there, Syria's Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam, who was in the United States last month for official talks.

    President Assad received the Ambassador' credentials -- which had been signed by former President Richard Nixon. Later, Ambassador Murphy read a latter -- in Arabic -- sent by President Ford. mr. Murphy learned to speak Arabic while in Beirut fifteen years ago. As well as his overseas postings, Mr. Murphy has held senior posts at the State Department in Washington connected with the Middle East.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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