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Rice Declines to Say When US Ambassador to Syria Might Return


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the U.S. Ambassador to Syria will remain in Washington indefinitely-- a day after the envoy was called home following the assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Ms. Rice testified to a Senate panel on Wednesday that Syria holds "special responsibility" for destabilization in Lebanon because of the troops it has stationed there.

She also endorsed an international investigation into Mr. Hariri's killing -- a move championed by French President Jacques Chirac.

U.S. Ambassador Margaret Scobey is due to return to the United States in the near future.

Syria's official news agency says Ms. Scobey met with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa in Damascus on Wednesday, where she delivered a letter from Secretary Rice concerning Lebanon.

The report says the Syrian official sent a reply letter to Ms. Rice.

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