New US special envoy for Syria named

March 17, 2014 - 5:49:32 pm

WASHINGTON: Secretary of State John Kerry announced Monday career diplomat Daniel Rubinstein has been named US special envoy for Syria as it enters the fourth year of a devastating civil war.

Rubinstein replaces Robert Ford, the former US ambassador to Syria, who resigned as special envoy last month.

Kerry praised Rubenstein as a fluent Arabic speaker who has served in diplomatic posts throughout the Middle East.

"There's no denying the tough challenge that Syria represents for any diplomat," Kerry said in a statement.

"Special Envoy Rubinstein's leadership and counsel will be vital as we redouble our efforts to support the moderate opposition, shore up our partners, counter the rise of extremism that threatens us all, and address the devastating humanitarian crisis and its impact on the neighboring states," Kerry said.

He said Rubinstein would travel to the region this month to begin consultations with the Syrians and others on ending the conflict. (AFP)