US names new special envoy for Syria

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Associated Press

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 17 at 11:01 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry has announced a new special U.S. envoy for Syria. He replaces a veteran diplomat who retired earlier this year amid a breakdown in talks between the Syrian government and opposition forces.

Shortly after the Syrian conflict marked its three-year anniversary this weekend, Kerry on Monday named career diplomat and Middle East hand Daniel Rubinstein to the post. Rubinstein succeeds Robert Ford in the job.

Ford, who also served as U.S. ambassador to Syria, retired at the end of February. Like Ford, Rubinstein speaks fluent Arabic and has served in numerous positions at embassies around the Mideast, including in Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia and Syria.

Kerry says Rubinstein will travel to the region in the coming weeks.

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