Syria welcomes Obama win

Syria’s minister for tourism said the election of Barack Obama as US president could help tourism in the region.

A fresh US approach on foreign policy would help promote continued stability in Syria and the surrounding region, said Dr Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa, Syria minister of tourism.

“We are hopeful about president elect Obama. He has spoken about a need for dialogue, and that is listening as well as talking. That is what people in the region have always been asking for.”

He said the number of British tourists choosing Syria had increased by 40% over the past year and would reach 55,000 by 2010.

The country’s reputation as a destination for historic and cultural attractions was being enhanced by an exhibition at the British Museum describing the region’s role in early Christianity, he said. The exhibition runs though to January 2009.

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