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Syria envoy declared persona non grata

By Mohammad Ghazal - May 26,2014 - Last updated at May 26,2014

AMMAN – Jordan on Monday asked Syrian Ambassador Bahjat Suleiman to leave the Kingdom within 24 hours, declaring him persona non grata.

In a retaliatory move, Syria informed the Jordanian embassy in Damascus that charge d’affaires in Damascus, Mohammad Amin Abu Jamoos, who was in Amman, is not allowed to re-enter Syria.

An official speaking on condition of anonymity told The Jordan Times that the measure does not mean severing diplomatic ties with Damascus, which can replace Suleiman.

Earlier in the day, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, quoted Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Sabah Rafie as attributing the decision to expel Suleiman, who reportedly left the country, to his “repeated insults and offences” targeting Jordan and its leadership, institutions and citizens, through remarks at meetings with various personalities, public statements and posts on social media sites, “ignoring frequent warnings not to take advantage of Jordan’s hospitality”.

“Mr Suleiman took advantage of Jordan’s turf as a platform to cast doubts over the Kingdom’s stands and direct false accusations against the country on more than one occasion,” Rafie said in the statement.

 

“Besides, he has directed outright accusations from Jordanian territory to Arab neighbouring countries and their leaderships bound with Jordan with the most solid brotherly ties. Such insults to Jordan and brotherly Arabs… constitute blatant violations to all diplomatic norms,” especially targeting a country that hosts hundreds of thousands of Syrians who have sought safe haven in the Kingdom. 

The Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run SANA news agency that Jordan’s decision to expel Suleiman was “unjustified” and does not reflect the “strong ties between the people of both countries”.

“In response to the Jordanian government’s decision, Syria decided to declare the charge d’affaires at the Jordanian embassy in Damascus persona non grata,” the statement said. 

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