Simon Jenkins, The Guardian | November 28, 2008
The UK wasted a diplomatic opportunity as it opened a classy museum exhibition in Damascus. ++ UK Foreign Secretary Miliband begged Syrian President al-Assad for help with the Middle East peace process, but could have reached out to his influential wife, Asma, who represented Syria at the opening. ++ Sending even a junior minister would have helped. ++ The British are not trusted in the region. ++ Exhibitions help where diplomatic posturing has failed. ++ "UK ambassadors should be appointed on knowledge of foreign culture, not policy."