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The News Line: News SYRIA EJECTS WESTERN DIPLOMATS Syria declared the ambassadors and envoys from several western states unwelcome yesterday, ordering them out of the country.

The move followed last week’s expulsion of senior Syrian diplomats from at least 13 countries.

In what it described as a reciprocal move, the Syrian government announced yesterday that 17 diplomats from the US, UK, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany and Canada are now considered ‘personae non gratae’.

All Turkish diplomatic staff were also declared unwelcome.

‘The Syrian Arab Republic still believes in the importance of dialogue based on principles of equality and mutual respect,’ a foreign ministry statement said.

‘We hope the countries that initiated these steps will adopt those principles, which would allow relations to return to normal again.’

President Assad told parliament on Sunday that Syria was facing not an internal crisis but an external war, waged against it because of its support for resistance to Israel.

In his first public comment on the massacre at Houla, in which 108 people were killed on 25 May, President Assad said that even ‘monsters’ would not have carried out such an act and that it should prompt an end to bloodshed.


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