State Department begins tweeting in Arabic

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Hoping to widen the audience for its mini-pronouncements of U.S. policy amid growing unrest in the Middle East, the State Department has begun sending Twitter messages in Arabic.

The department’s first entry into Arabic language micro-blogging appeared on Twitter early Wednesday. It’s a post saying that Washington recognizes the “historic role” of social media in the Arab world. “We want to be in your conversation,” it said.

The next posts reiterated President Barack Obama’s stance that only Egyptians can decide their future and summarized Vice President Joe Biden’s Tuesday call to Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman.

The Twitter account is “USA bilAraby,” which means “USA in Arabic.” It had 40 followers within hours of appearing.