Veteran Syrian diplomat Mekdad named foreign minister, state media says

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syria's President Bashar al Assad named veteran diplomat Faisal Mekdad as foreign minister on Sunday to replace Walid Moalem, who died last week, state media reported. Mekdad, 66, had been deputy foreign minister since 2006. He has also held a string of diplomatic posts, including envoy to the United Nations.

Reuters November 23, 2020 05:10:19 IST
Veteran Syrian diplomat Mekdad named foreign minister, state media says

Veteran Syrian diplomat Mekdad named foreign minister state media says

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syria's President Bashar al Assad named veteran diplomat Faisal Mekdad as foreign minister on Sunday to replace Walid Moalem, who died last week, state media reported.

Mekdad, 66, had been deputy foreign minister since 2006. He has also held a string of diplomatic posts, including envoy to the United Nations.

Assad also appointed Bashar al-Jaafari, currently ambassador to the U.N., as deputy foreign minister.

Mekdad, like Moalem, is a staunch defender of Assad's bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters in 2011, when thousands took to the streets calling for an end to the Assad family's decades-old authoritarian rule that later erupted into a full-scale civil war.

Moalem died last Monday at the age of 79, after suffering years of heart problems.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif phoned Mekdad and congratulated him on his new position, stressing Tehran's "continued strategic cooperation" with Syria, official Iranian media outlets said.

Mekdad is a strong advocate of strengthening ties with Iran and Russia, the two main allies who have helped shore up Assad's rule and allowed him to regain most of the territory he once lost to the armed opposition.

The veteran diplomat has also been the country's main interlocuter with U.N. agencies and foreign agencies based in Damascus and instrumental in efforts to divert aid to serve the cash-strapped government's priorities, U.N. sources and international aid workers say.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Paul Simao)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

IAEA and U.S. pressure Iran over uranium particles at 'atomic warehouse'
World

IAEA and U.S. pressure Iran over uranium particles at 'atomic warehouse'

VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog and the United States pressured Iran on Wednesday to finally explain the origin of uranium particles found almost two years ago at an old but undeclared site that Israel has called a "secret atomic warehouse". Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew attention to the Turqazabad site in Tehran in a speech to the United Nations in September 2018, urging the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit it

Sri Lanka's Gotabaya says has reassembled nation's intelligence network
World

Sri Lanka's Gotabaya says has reassembled nation's intelligence network

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Wednesday he had delivered on a key election promise to rebuild the island nation's intelligence network in the year since assuming office.

Pole and Chinese citizen indicted in Warsaw for spying
World

Pole and Chinese citizen indicted in Warsaw for spying

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish authorities said on Wednesday a former secret service agent and a Chinese citizen who worked for a telecommunications company have been charged with spying for China. Reuters previously reported on the allegations against an employee of Huawei and a former Polish domestic intelligence operative who were being investigated by the Warsaw government for suspected espionage