Entries in Washington (2)


Syrian Embassy Spokesman in Washington, D.C. Resigns

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Ahmed Salkini, who has rather vigorously defended the Syrian government in the the U.S. press for several years, is leaving his post as Syrian Embassy spokesman to take a private sector job. He was, by his own admission, largely absent as protests against President Assad swelled in recent months.

Privately, Salkini admitted a few weeks ago that recent events made him think it was time to leave his position, though they were not the only reason. On Tuesday, he didn't say if his resignation is solely in protest. His farewell email, however, reveals hints of his personal feelings about the uprising in Syria.

"As many of you have pointed out, I have been conspicuously silent since the beginning of the events in Syria, and at times, even unresponsive," Salkini wrote. "I leave my position during the most difficult, yet promising of times in Syria’s modern history.  I have been pained by every drop of Syrian blood lost.  Still, I am certain of, and comforted by, the fact that Syria will emerge from this crisis more democratic, unified, freer, and stronger than ever," he added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Palestinian Flag Flies Officially for First Time in Washington

Image Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Palestinian flag was flown for the first time outside Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) diplomatic offices in Washington today, in a symbolic step that officials said shows momentum towards creation of an independent Palestinian state.

"We hope that this will help international efforts to provide recognition of the Palestinian state,” said Ambassador Maen Areikat, “and we hope that, as President Obama said at the U.N. General Assembly last year, by the next General Assembly session this year in September, Palestine will be a full member of the U.N."

Palestinian leaders have been intensely lobbying members of the U.N. for official recognition this year despite U.S. opposition and the threat of a veto. The U.S. has said Palestinian statehood should come as part of a peace deal with Israel.

Still, Areikat praised the Obama administration for a small, if symbolic, gesture that reflects improved diplomatic relations and a U.S. commitment to help promote the goal of a Palestinian state.

"It means the administration is serious," he said of the U.S. permission to fly the flag. "What we are urging them now is to translate their support for a Palestinian state into concrete action."

The Palestinian diplomatic mission has been under a number of restrictions since the U.S. government stopped classifying the PLO as a terrorist group after the Oslo Accords of 1993. It does not have full diplomatic status as an independent state.

The pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio