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Saudi Embassy in Damascus (AFP)
Saudi Embassy in Damascus (AFP)

Saudi Arabia & Italy closes their Embassies in Damascus; Netherlands too

(Dp-news)

Agencies- Saudi Arabia, Italy & Netherlands became the most recent countries to withdraw their embassies from the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Saudi Arabia says it has closed its embassy in Damascus and pulled out its diplomats and staff as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad steps up attacks against the opposition.
The Saudi kingdom has become one of the leading Arab supporters of the Syrian rebels and has appealed for international efforts to study ways to provide aid and weapons to anti-Assad forces.

The embassy closure was announced late Wednesday on the official Saudi Press Agency.



Saudi Arabia is a rival of Iran, which strongly backs the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. In announcing the closure of its embassy, Saudi Arabia followed a call by the Gulf Cooperation Council that all Arab League nations cut diplomatic relations with Damascus.

Last month, the Gulf Cooperation Council proposed that all Arab League nations withdraw their ambassadors from Damascus. The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Italy also decided Wednesday to withdraw their embassies from the Syrian capital of Damascus. The Italian foreign ministry expressed "the strongest condemnation of the unacceptable violence by the Syrian regime against its own citizens," the Associated Press said.



The Netherlands is also to close its embassy in Damascus in protest at continued violence committed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad, Dutch public television NOS reported Thursday.
"The shutdown is an expression of the revulsion we feel in the face of the appalling violence of the Syrian government," Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said in a statement.

The announcement that the Dutch embassy in Damascus is to close within a few days came after Rosenthal met with Syrian opponents in The Hague on Wednesday.
Rosenthal said the Netherlands would continue to back the Syrian opposition financially and also with technical equipment to provide access to the internet.

Canada, France, Italy, Britain, Spain and the United States have already closed their embassies in Damascus.



The closure of foreign embassies in Syria comes on the one year anniversary of the uprising against Bashar al-Assad's rule, the AP reported Wednesday.

Previous U.N. Security Council meetings have been unable to reach a decisive resolution because China and Russia have twice vetoed previous drafts on Syria, claiming they were unbalanced.


The Syrian government has repeatedly blamed "armed terrorist groups" for the unrest, which the United Nations estimates to have killed more than 8000 people.

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