Britain condemns embassy attacks in Syria

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Britain condemned attacks on the US and French embassies in Syria on Tuesday as "unacceptable", and said it was seeking "urgent assurances" from Damascus about the safety of diplomatic missions.

Junior Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said the attacks were clearly a response to the visits last week by US and French ambassadors to the flashpoint protest city of Hama, and insisted diplomats must be able to travel freely.

"I support the right to peaceful protest in Syria, as elsewhere. But yesterday's violent protests and the inflammatory language used by Syrian officials over the visits by diplomats to Hama are unacceptable," he said.

"Continuing violence by the Syrian security forces and their supporters against their own people, as well as their complicity in allowing attacks on diplomatic missions in Syria is not compatible with the professed commitment of the Syrian authorities to a genuine political process."

Burt continued: "I condemn the attacks on the French and US embassies in Damascus on 11 July. The Syrian authorities have failed to discharge their responsibility under international law to protect diplomatic missions.

"This is an issue of direct concern to the UK and to all countries with diplomatic missions in Syria. All EU member states in Syria are today seeking urgent assurances from the Syrian foreign ministry."

Hours after the embassy attacks, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad had "lost legitimacy".

© 2011 AFP

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