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Lebanese embassy officially opens in Syrian capital


DAMASCUS, March 16 (RIA Novosti) - Lebanon officially opened its embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Monday for the first time since the countries gained independence in the 1940s, a RIA Novosti correspondent said.

The new Lebanese Ambassador to Syria Michel el-Khoury, the former envoy to Cyprus, will arrive in Damascus in the first half of April, until then foreign ministry aide, Rami Murtada, will head the diplomatic office.

Three diplomats have been working in the Syrian embassy in Beirut since December 2008 after the two countries' leaders agreed to establish diplomatic relations. Syria has yet to name its ambassador to Beirut.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Lebanese counterpart Michel Suleiman in Paris last July pledged to improve relations between the two Arab countries.

Syria for decades dominated Lebanon, before finally pulling its troops from the neighboring country in April 2005. This came just two months after the assassination of the former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri in a Beirut bombing. Damascus has denied any involvement in the assassination.

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