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Archive for Syria

Newsline: Hungary draws up plans to upgrade diplomatic ties with Syria

Hungary is drawing up plans to upgrade diplomatic relations with Syria, a move that will anger influential EU members who have sought to keep their distance from the Damascus regime. Budapest has for months been working on a proposal to send a chargé d’affaires back to Syria, according to diplomats in Brussels and Beirut, which would be a precursor to reopening its closed embassy eventually. While a few European capitals kept up diplomatic ties during the seven-year conflict, this would be the first time an EU member state has moved towards reopening a shuttered embassy in Syria. (https://www.ft.com/content/837adb10-d3bb-11e9-a0bd-ab8ec6435630) Many EU members strongly oppose normalising relations with the Bashar al-Assad’s authoritarian regime by dispatching envoys to Syria. One European diplomat in Beirut called Hungary’s proposed move “very annoying”.

Newsline: Twitter Suspends Russian Embassy in Syria’s Account

Twitter has suspended the account of Russia’s Embassy in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed, with fellow Russian embassy accounts saying it was suspended for its “factual” criticism of Syrian rescue workers. Syrian rebel commanders and rights groups said Monday that Russia and its Syrian ally jets killed four civilians and wounded scores in a raid on a marketplace in Maarat al-Numan city. The Russian Embassy in Damascus posted the Russian military’s dismissal of the claims and accusations that rescue workers from Syria’s White Helmets “mak[e] fakes and work with terrorists.” Twitter has suspended the Russian Embassy in Syria’s account for violating the site’s rules, according to a message on the embassy’s now-hidden profile. (https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/07/31/twitter-bans-russian-embassy-in-syria-account-colleagues-blame-syrian-rescuers-a66648) The Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted Wednesday that it considers Twitter’s move an “act of censorship and flagrant violation of freedom of speech.” It said Twitter blocked the Russian Embassy in Syria’s account “without any explanation” and urged the social media platform to “immediately unblock @RusEmbSyria.” Twitter did not specify which of its rules was violated.

Newsline: Syrian dissident claims he was attacked at country’s Istanbul consulate

A prominent Syrian opposition figure who once served as a spokesman for a military negotiation committee of the opposition, says he was “attacked” at the Syrian Consulate in Istanbul. (https://www.dailysabah.com/istanbul/2019/07/10/syrian-dissident-claims-he-was-attacked-at-countrys-istanbul-consulate) Osama Abo Zayd was at the consulate for the legal registration of his marriage in Istanbul. He said he had to “pay” $300 for an appointment at the consulate and was mistreated when he arrived. “A clerk saw a wristband symbolizing the Syrian revolution on my wrist and told me he would not process my application if I didn’t remove it,” Zayd told Anadolu Agency (AA), referring to the opposition movement against the Bashar Assad regime. “Then, officials there hurled insults at me and tried to remove me from the consulate. “They intimidated me and tried to hit me. Security officers came and forced me out of the building,” Zayd said. The dissident said he has filed a lawsuit against the consulate clerks. “Turkey’s relations with the regime are bad, but it still did not shut down the consulate so that it can help the Syrian people. Instead, people coming here are subject to insults,” Zayd complained. He said the consulate has to serve all Syrian citizens, regardless of their views, under international laws.

Newsline: Saudi’s top diplomat says ‘too early’ to reopen Syria embassy

Saudi Arabia has ruled out reopening the kingdom’s embassy in Syria, saying it is “too early” to restore diplomatic ties with President Bashar al-Assad’s government. The comments were made on Mar. 4 by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir, who also said Saudi authorities would not take part in any reconstruction efforts in Syria without progress on a political process to end the country’s eight-year-old war. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/saudi-foreign-minister-early-reopen-syria-embassy-190304184023059.html) “The kingdom has always been keen on the integrity of the Syrian territory and the political solution,” al-Jubeir told a joint press conference with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Newsline: Jordanian charge d’affaires to reopen embassy in Syria

Diplomatic ties to be rekindled amid Arab world warming up to Assad again. A charge d’affaires has been sent to Damascus to start work again in Jordan’s embassy in the Syrian capital, the Jordanian foreign ministry announced. Although diplomatic ties were never severed, relations were strained between the two middle-eastern neighbors since Jordan recalled its ambassador in 2011 amid events leading to the Syrian civil war. Syria has since accused Jordan of supporting some rebels against the regime, while Jordan expelled the Syrian ambassador in 2014.

https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/193771-190123-jordanian-charge-d-affaires-to-reopen-embassy-in-syria

Newsline: Saudi Arabia not reopening Damascus embassy

Saudi Arabia dismissed news that it plans to reopen its embassy in Damascus. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs branded the reports untrue and baseless. An official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the claims circulated by some electronic media as false. On a statement attributed to Dr Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on opening the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in the Syrian capital, Damascus, the official said they are untrue. The United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus in December, the latest sign of efforts to bring the Syrian government back into the Arab fold. Nearly seven years later, the UAE flag was raised again during a ceremony attended by diplomats and journalists. UAE’s charge d’affaires Abdul Hakim Naimi visited the embassy and witnessed the country’s flag being raised again on the compound in central Damascus.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/region/saudi-arabia/saudi-arabia-clarifies-regarding-reopening-of-embassy-in-damascus

Newsline: Qatar sees no need to re-open embassy in Syria

Qatar’s foreign minister said on Monday that he saw no need to re-open an embassy in Damascus, nor any encouraging signs for a normalization of ties with the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani also said Qatar still objects to Arab League membership for Syria, which was suspended in 2011 over the government’s violent response to protests at the start of what turned out to be an almost eight-year-old war. Some Arab states, including ones that once backed rebels against Assad, are seeking to reconcile with him after decisive gains by his and allied forces in the war. Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry later denied reports it was reopening its embassy in Damascus. The United Arab Emirates re-opened its embassy there last month and Bahrain said its embassy, and the Syrian mission in Manama, had been operating “without interruption”.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-qatar-idUSKCN1P80I8