New Syria envoy takes up Iraq post after defection

Syria's new ambassador to Iraq has taken up his post in Baghdad, five months after his predecessor defected and joined the country's anti-regime revolt, the president's office said on Thursday.

Sattam al-Jadaan, named on October 9 to replace Nawaf Fares who defected in July, submitted his credentials to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani at a ceremony on Wednesday, it said.

The office, in a statement on its website, said Talabani "stressed the importance of relations between the two brotherly country" and his readiness to support Jadaan's efforts "to make his mission in Iraq a success".

Iraq has pointedly avoided calling for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces are locked in an almost 21-month conflict with rebels fighting to overthrow his regime.

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