Paris summons Syrian ambassador to issue protest

10th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

The French foreign ministry on Sunday summoned Syria's ambassador to France over damage done to the French embassy and a consulate in Syria.

Syrian demonstrators caused the damage Saturday after France's ambassador to Syria visited the northern village of Hama, a stronghold of the anti-regime uprising.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppe's cabinet chief called "the ambassador of Syria this evening to the Quai d'Orsay" to receive a "vigorous protest" over "offences against the emblems of the (French) Republic", ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said in a statement.

The demonstrators who gathered at the French embassy in Damascus and the consulate in Aleppo burned French flags, threw projectiles into the compounds, destroyed vehicles and generally caused "considerable damage", the statement further said.

It all happened "without Syrian security services and police doing anything to mobilise to prevent these unspeakable acts", Valero said.

The acts are "in total violation of the obligations incumbent on the Arab Republic of Syria under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations", the statement added.

"We hold the Syrian authorities responsible for the security of our staff and our diplomatic missions," the spokesman said.

The demonstrations happened following a visit Thursday by French ambassador Eric Chevalier to Hama, besieged by Syrian forces cracking down on anti-government demonstrations.

The US ambassador Robert Ford also went this weekend to Hama to voice support for the local population on behalf of the United States.

Both diplomats were summoned by the Syrian foreign ministry, which called the visits a "blatant interference in Syrian internal affairs".

© 2011 AFP

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