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Main US pointman on Syria, Robert Ford, steps down

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) meeting with former US ambassador Robert Ford in Damascus on January 27, 2011Robert Ford, the US ambassador to Syria 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 spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. She admitted that the departure of 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. “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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