Embassy closure sends ‘a political signal’ to Syria

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Norway shut its embassy in Syria on Monday in a move mostly based on security reasons but also, according to Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, as an indirect political signal to the regime in Damascus.

“When we say that we find it unsafe to be there, that we’re pulling out our people because it’s not safe for them to be there, it is a political signal,” Støre told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Monday evening.

Støre stressed that he wanted to keep diplomats in Syria as long as possible, “to communicate what we believe, but also to gather our own impressions.” Developments during the past few days, including violent clashes between the regime and its opponents, no longer made it possible.

France, the UK, Italy, Spain and the US already have closed their embassies in Damascus. Turkey also reported it would close its embassy on Monday.

One Norwegian diplomat planned to stay, and was moving into the Danish Embassy. Finland also pulled out but Norway, Sweden and Denmark were maintaining close contact and gathering in the Danish residence.

Views and News staff