Syrian Vice Premier Qadri Jamil has been relieved of duty today according to the Syrian state media, after he missed a week of work to take an unauthorized trip to Switzerland to talk with US Ambassador Robert Ford.
The official reason for his dismissal was absence from work without prior permission, but reports suggest there was much more to his abortive trip to Switzerland than the statement would indicate.
Political sources say Jamil, a member of an opposition party in Syria that was included in the current government in an effort to placate protesters, tried to convince Ford to allow him to simultaneously represent Syria’s government and rebels in the Geneva II talks.
Ford rejected the proposal, saying it made no sense for Jamil to try to represent both sides at once, and it’s not clear how he imagined he’d be acceptable as the representative for the rebels, though since the rebels don’t have anyone going to the conference he may have been betting on the US preferring him to nothing.
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