Syria names first ambassador to Iraq since 1980s

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- The state news agency says the Syrian government has named an ambassador to Iraq for the first time since the 1980s.

SANA says Nawaf Fares was sworn in Tuesday before Syrian President Bashar Assad. Fares has been the governor of Syria's southeastern province of Quneitra.

Syria and Iraq restored diplomatic relations in November 2006, ending a 24-year break sparked by Damascus' accusations that Iraq incited riots in Syria in 1982 by members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Syria's ruling Baath Party was in a bitter rivalry with Iraq's branch of the party under Saddam Hussein's regime.

Syria joins the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Kuwait in naming ambassadors to Iraq. SANA does not say when Fares will travel to Baghdad.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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