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Main US pointman on Syria, Robert Ford, steps down

Published on Mar 1, 2014 4:16 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, who has been Washington's main pointman in efforts to end the war, working with opposition leaders battling President Bashar al-Assad, stepped down Friday.

"Robert Ford is retiring from the foreign service today after nearly 30 years of distinguished service," State Department spokesman Jen Psaki told reporters.

She admitted that Mr Ford, who over the past three years has built up extensive contacts with the opposition leaders and was instrumental in helping to bring them to the Geneva peace talks, would be a loss.

"His extraordinary leadership has guided our response to one of the most formidable foreign policy challenges in the region," Ms Psaki said. "From the outbreak of the crisis, Ambassador Ford has worked tirelessly in support of the Syrian people in their pursuit of freedom and dignity."

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