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Portugal declares Syria’s ambassador persona non grata

Published on 31/05/2012

Portugal has declared Syria's Paris-based ambassador Lamia Shakkur persona non grata, following a wave of sanctions by Western countries against Syrian diplomats, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

Shakkur, who also represented Damascus in France and Switzerland, has already been ordered to leave by Paris and declared persona non grata by Bern, in the wake of the recent massacre at Houla in central Syria.

Foreign ministry spokesman Miguel Guedes told the Lusa news agency that Lisbon had acted “because of the events of recent days, particularly the massacre at Houla last weekend, the non-respect of Kofi Annan’s plan and the increase in violence against innocent civilians.”

Annan’s plan for ending bloodshed in Syria includes a ceasefire that should have taken effect on April 12 but has been violated daily.

At Houla 108 people died, including 49 children and 34 women, in an attack blamed by opposition groups and Western powers on forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.