Lebanon’s first ever embassy on Monday was inaugurated in Damascus as the charge d’affiares raised the Lebanese flag over the embassy headquarters. The embassy opened its doors in the Syrian capital's Abu Rummaneh street, but ambassador Michel el-Khoury will start his mission in April, Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh said.
According to Naharnet, Salloukh's advisor Rami Murtada will act as charge d'affaires until Khoury takes over in the first half of next month as the first Lebanese ambassador to Damascus.
The foreign minister was quoted as saying by As-Safir daily Monday that the timing of the embassy opening is not related to President Michel Suleiman's visit to Paris. It is part of a decision by the Lebanese president and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad to establish diplomatic ties between the two countries, noted Salloukh.
Lebanon still awaits Syria's decision to name its envoy, the Lebanese minister told As Safir. Three diplomats have been stationed at the Syrian embassy in Beirut's Hamra district since last December but the mission is not yet fully operational.
According to Salloukh, the opening of the embassies will help "organize and legalize bilateral relations and become a guarantee for Lebanese citizens in Syria and Syrian citizens in Lebanon."