Netherlands recalls ambassador from Syria

February 8th, 2012 - 6:03 am ICT by IANS  

The Hague, Feb 8 (IANS) The foreign ministry of the Netherlands Tuesday recalled its ambassador from Syria, following similar steps by several nations to ramp up pressure against Damascus, Xinhua reported.

The Netherlands followed France, Italy and Spain which announced they were bringing back their envoys after Britain, Belgium and the US took similar moves.

“I have decided to bring the Dutch ambassador back from Damascus for consultations,” Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal told the parliament.

“He’ll probably travel back to the Netherlands today (Tuesday),” he said.

The Dutch embassy, however, will stay open to keep in touch with the Syrian opposition and Dutch citizens remaining in Syria.

The Gulf Cooperation Council countries have also decided to withdraw their ambassadors from Syria, and asked Syrian ambassadors in the Gulf countries to leave, according to a GCC statement issued Tuesday.

The US Monday closed its embassy in Syria and pulled out its staff, including ambassador Robert Ford, over security concerns.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague also said Monday the country’s ambassador in Syria has been recalled for consultation, following America’s move to withdraw all diplomats from Damascus.

At least 5,400 people have been killed in the Syrian government’s 11-month crackdown on protesters, according to the UN. Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with Al Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed, RIA Novosti said.

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