May 27, 2014 in Nation/World

Jordan, Syria expel diplomats in tit-for-tat

 
Associated Press photo

Syrian expatriates chant anti-Assad slogans Monday as they celebrate the Jordanian government’s decision to expel the Syrian ambassador, Bahjat Suleiman, in Amman, Jordan.
(Full-size photo)

AMMAN, Jordan – Jordan expelled Syria’s top envoy Monday, prompting Damascus to do the same in a diplomatic tussle that could signal the start of unraveling ties between the neighbors.

The move came a week before an election in Syria expected to keep President Bashar Assad in power.

It was unclear what specifically caused Jordan to expel Syrian Ambassador Bahjat Suleiman. Jordan has hosted an envoy from Syria since the start of the 2011 uprising despite quietly supporting rebels trying to overthrow Assad.

Suleiman was ordered to leave the country within 24 hours in a humiliating public announcement first made on state-run media.

He was declared persona non grata because of “continued offensive statements, through his personal contacts or writing in the media and the social media, against the kingdom.”

Soon after the announcement from Amman about Suleiman, Syria’s Foreign Ministry said it would expel the Jordanian charge d’affaires in retaliation, although he was not in the country. It said it requested the Jordanian Embassy in Damascus to inform the diplomat that he is banned from entering Syria.

Associated Press


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