DAMASCUS\RABAT- Syria`s Foreign and Expatriates Ministry on Monday summoned the Ambassador of Morocco in Damascus Mohammad al-Akhsasi and handed him an official memo including the decision of the Syrian Arab Republic to consider him persona non grata as of 16/7/2012, Syria official news agency SANA reports.
In a statement published Monday, the Ministry said that this memo follows the principle of reciprocity according to Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.
In Rabat and earlier on Monday, Morocco said it had asked the Syrian ambassador to leave the North African country and declared him persona non grata, calling for a transition to democracy that would meet the Syrian people's aspirations for freedom.
Morocco's communications minister, Mustapha Khalfi told The Associated Press that Ambassador Nabih Ismael must leave the country, making Morocco the latest Arab nation to expel its Syrian diplomats.
Morocco's Foreign Ministry did not immediately explain the timing or the reason for its decision to expel Ismail, but said in a statement the situation in Syria "cannot remain as it is".
It added that Morocco wished for "an efficient and resolute action to ensure a political transition towards a democratic setup that guarantees Syria's unity, stability and regional safety to achieve the brotherly Syrian people's aspirations for dignity, freedom and development."
Early on Monday, rumors had circulated that the ambassador to Rabat, Nabih Ismail, had also defected to the rebel side. A Syrian embassy official denied this but had no further comment.
Press reports said that Morocco had recalled its own ambassador to Damascus in November 2011 and Monday's decision was the latest in a series of diplomatic expulsions that has seen Damascus increasingly isolated as anti-Assad rebels gain strength.
Morocco's North African neighbors Tunisia and Libya, which saw their own dictators swept away in last year's Arab Spring uprisings, expelled Syrian diplomats as far back as February.
In May, the United States, France, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Bulgaria and Switzerland all kicked out Syrian diplomats in response to a massacre of 108 people in the town of Houla in May. Japan followed suit.