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U.S. To Send Two Envoys To Syria

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that the U.S. will dispatch two envoys to Syria for "preliminary conversations."

The statement was the most significant sign yet that the Obama administration is considering restoring ties with Damascus.

Clinton said there was "no way to predict" the direction U.S.-Syria relations might take, but that she believes, "it is a worthwhile effort to go and begin these preliminary conversations."

CBS News' George Baghdadi reports that one of the two officials expected to arrive in Damascus at the behest of the Obama administration is Jeffery Feltman.

Feltman, who has served recently for the State Department as U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon and previously as senior member of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, is currently an Acting Assistant Secretary of State.

He met on Feb. 26 with Syria's Ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, and has been heavily involved in pursuing American interests in Lebanon and Syria for months.

CBS News correspondent Charles Wolfson traveling with Clinton, reports that the second administration official sent to Damascus will be Dan Shapiro.

Currently an advisor to the Obama campaign on Middle East and Jewish affairs, Shapiro is a long-time Washington insider who served briefly on the National Security Council in Bill Clinton's administration. He worked previously as a foreign policy advisor to Sen. Bill Nelson, a conservative Florida Republican.

Clinton's comments came during her first visit to the Middle East as secretary of state. She spoke Tuesday in Jerusalem alongside Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, ahead of a meeting later in the day with prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu.

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