Syria declares persona non grata for
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Anti-regime protesters carry the body of Yaser Raqieh, whom protesters say was killed by al-Assad forces.Syria’s government declared yesterday that the ambassadors and staff of several Western countries, including Turkey, were persona non grata.
Turkey closed its Damascus embassy and withdrew its entire staff of diplomatic personnel from the capital of Syria in March, a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News. The Syrian government’s decision literally meaning an unwelcome person,” was a symbolic one.
Turkey’s consulate in Aleppo remains open and continues with its normal activities as the Syrian government’s persona non grata label did not include the consulate or its staff, the diplomat said.
However, Syria is rejecting visas for Turkish officials who wanted to enter the country, another Turkish official told the Daily News, adding that the deputy of Turkey’s Aleppo consulate was among those rejected. Damascus has also not granted five Turkish officials set to participate in the U.N. observer mission in Syria visa approval. “Some states recently informed heads of our diplomatic missions and embassy staff that they are unwelcome,” the Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that Syria was now designating ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France and Turkey, among others, as personae non grata.
The ambassadors of Canada, Italy and Spain were also named in the statement, as well as various embassy staff members from Belgium, Bulgaria and Germany. The statement concluded by saying that Syria “still believes in the importance of dialogue based on principles of equality and mutual respect” and that diplomacy is a “necessary tool” for countries to resolve disputes.