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Obama temporarily appoints four ambassadors

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 — U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday used his power to temporarily appoint four U.S. ambassadors, without getting approval from the Senate.

The White House announced that Obama "recess appoints" U.S. ambassadors to four countries, namely Syria, Azerbaijan, Turkey and the Czech Republic.

Recess appointment is usually made when the nomination is, for some reason, blocked in the Senate. It is made when the Senate is in recess and the appointment is likely to last for a year when the next congressional session ends at the end of 2011.

Among the four new ambassadors, Robert Ford, the newly appointed ambassador to Syria, is the most controversial. Some Republican senators are against his nomination, not because the nominee himself is not qualified, but because they fear sending an ambassador to Syria would be a reward to its "dangerous behavior."

The United States has been accusing Syria of sending Scud missiles to Lebanon's Hezbollah.

However, the Obama administration argued that sending an ambassador to Damascus might help change its position on Israel and Lebanon, and furthermore to convince it to cut alliance with Iran.

Besides the appointments of the four ambassadors, Obama also named in the announcement the Public Printer of the United States and the Deputy Attorney General of the Justice Department. (PNA/Xinhua) scs/utb

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