West and Gulf states recall Syria envoys
PARIS / DUBAI
In this Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 file photo, the U.S. embassy building is seen in Damascus, Syria. AP photoSeveral European and Gulf Cooperation Council countries recalled their ambassadors to Syria yesterday, following the U.S. and the U.K.’s similar moves Feb. 6.
Italy, France and Belgium recalled their ambassadors for consultations yesterday because of the continued crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime on the population. Also, the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said in a statement yesterday that “the GCC states have decided to withdraw all their ambassadors from Syria and also demand that all ambassadors for the Syrian regime leave their lands leave immediately.” The GCC is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. France and Italy said their embassy would remain open in Damascus. Meanwhile, Switzerland added 34 top Syrian military and interior ministry officials and pro-regime organizations to a travel ban list Feb. 6.
Poland to represent US
The European countries’ diplomatic action against Syria came after the U.S. closed its embassy in Syria and pulled out all staff Feb. 6. Yesterday Poland said it would represent U.S. interests in Syria. “The U.S. Department of State [...] requested that the authorities of the Republic of Poland represent US interests in Syria,” the Polish foreign ministry said in a statement.