Syria to respond in kind to recalled envoys

Reuters , Monday 12 Mar 2012

Syria's envoy to Russia says country will respond in kind to the downgrading of diplomatic ties and closing of embassies

Damascus is planning to respond in kind to countries that have recalled their ambassadors from Syria in response to President Bashar Al-Assad's bloody crackdown on a nearly year-long uprising, Syria's envoy to Russia Riad Haddad said on Monday.

"There are certain European countries that have already recalled their ambassadors from Syria. Syria will respond in the same way," Haddad told journalists on Monday, speaking through an interpreter.

EU member states have been discussing proposals, promoted by France, to collectively downgrade diplomatic ties both in EU capitals and Damascus, but with no agreement so far. Syria has begun pre-emptively withdrawing ambassadors from Europe because it fears EU members will expel them, Arab diplomats said on Saturday.

The United States, Britain, Switzerland, Canada and France have already closed their embassies in Damascus. The United Nations estimates that Syrian security forces have killed well over 7,500 people in an increasingly bloody conflict that began as a mainly peaceful protest movement a year ago and now appears to be sliding into civil war.

Syria said in December that "terrorists" had killed more than 2,000 soldiers and police.

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