Archive for August 18, 2011
The State Department says the Obama administration has imposed restrictions on the travel of Syrian diplomats in the United States in retaliation for similar curbs placed onU.S.diplomats in Syria. The department said that as of last month it has required personnel at Syria’s embassy here to get permission to travel outside the Capital Beltway that surrounds Washington, D.C., and parts of northern Virginia and suburban Maryland. Syrian diplomats must ask for approval at least seven working days in advance of planned trips beyond that zone. The department said the step was taken becauseSyriain July started restricting the travel of U.S. diplomats in the country after the U.S. ambassador in Damascus visited an opposition hotbed in the midst of a brutal government crackdown on dissent.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas raised the PLO flag at a ceremony marking the upgrade of a PA delegation in Beirut to the status of embassy on Wednesday. Attending the event were Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat. Abbas is inBeirutas part of a visit aimed at pushing for Lebanese support for the Palestinian statehood bid next month.Lebanon, a temporary member of the United Nations Security Council, assumes the Security Council presidency in September. On Tuesday, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman saidBeirutintends to support the PA’s statehood bid whenLebanontakes the rotating UN Security Council leadership next month. Abbas said that Palestinians living in Lebanon will receive Palestinian passports alongside the establishment of a Palestinian state. Meeting with Suleiman in the Lebanese coastal city ofBaabda, Abbas said he opposes the re-settlement of Palestinian refugees and their descendants – in his words, “temporary guests” – in their countries of habitation. “We do not want [the Palestinians’s] nationalization and we do not seek it,” Abbas said, according to Lebanon’s As-Safir newspaper, adding, “When the Palestinian state is established, Palestinians will have their passport and nationality.”