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US suspends Syrian embassy, consulate operations

March 19, 2014 00:07 IST

The United States of suspended the operations of Syria's embassy in Washington including its consular service and asked for the pullout of Syrian diplomats.

The move came after the Syrian embassy announced suspension of consular services.

“In consideration of the atrocities the Assad regime has committed” against the Syrian people, “we have determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by that regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations in the United States,” the Special US Envoy for Syria Daniel Rubinstein said.

“Consequently, the United States notified the Syrian government today that it must immediately suspend operations of its Embassy in Washington DC and its honorary consulates in Troy, Michigan, and Houston, Texas,” he said.

“Syrian diplomats at the embassy and Syrian honorary consulates are no longer permitted to perform diplomatic or consular functions and those who are not US citizens or lawful permanent residents must depart the United States," Rubinstein said.

The envoy said "Despite the differences between our governments, the US continues to maintain diplomatic relations with the state of Syria as an expression of its longstanding ties with the Syrian people, an interest that will endure long after Bashar al-Assad leaves power".

"The United States will continue to assist those seeking change in Syria, to help end the slaughter, and to resolve the crisis through negotiations -- for the benefit of the Syrian people,” he said.

Image: A Syrian opposition demonstrator with her fingers painted the colours of the Syrian flag.

Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters   

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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