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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US to Pursue Ties with Syria Despite Concerns

VOA News 22 April 2010

The Obama administration says it wants to improve relations with Syria despite allegations that Damascus is supplying militants with Scud missiles.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday America still wants to send an ambassador to Syria after a five-year absence.

Clinton said Syria should not view the assignment of an ambassador as a reward, and that the goal would be to better understand and communicate with Damascus.

Clinton did not confirm reports that Syria has been providing Hezbollah militants in Lebanon with Scud missiles that could be used against Israel. But she called the reports deeply troubling.

On Wednesday, a top U.S. diplomat told U.S. lawmakers that any attempt to supply Hezbollah with Scuds would be an "incendiary, provocative" action.

Damascus has denied the Scud missile allegations and accused Israel of looking for an excuse to attack Syria.

The United States has been trying to revive peace talks in the Middle East. It considers Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006 that killed more than 1,200 Lebanese and about 160 Israelis. During the war, Hezbollah fired thousands of missiles into Israel.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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