Syrian envoy denies Gulf pullout orders amid increasing protests

August 11, 2011

Syria’s ambassador to Kuwait has denied reports claiming that Damascus was pulling out all its diplomats from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

“The reports lack credibility and are mere rumours,” Bassam Abdul Majeed said. “I am still at my post and there have been no instructions on this regard from the Syrian foreign ministry. It is all allegations,” he said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily An Nahar.

The ambassador’s denial came one day after a demonstration in front of the Syrian embassy in Kuwait City to demand the expulsion of the Syrian ambassador was told that Damascus was summoning its envoys in the GCC and that the departure of Bassam Abdul Majeed was a matter of time.

The protestors, estimated to be around 2,000 by Kuwaiti media, called for severing all ties with the Syrian regime for “relentlessly attacking and killing its people.”

MP Mohammad Hayef who last week ran into controversy for seeking a fatwa, a religious edict, for the killing of the Syrian ambassador in Kuwait, used the rally to defend his call.

“Those who allow themselves to kill others without reason should be put to death,” he said.

However, the controversial MP who has been an exceptionally vociferous voice against the Syrian regime might face the public prosecutor after the interior ministry reportedly requested an investigation into his speeches.

Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas on Thursday said that the ministry said that the lawmaker should be charged with issuing threats and inciting for the killing of the ambassador of a friendly country, both regarded as state security crimes.

The tense developments in Kuwait on the situation in Syria could be further compounded after an MP advised the Syrian ambassador to take legal action against anyone who abuses the Syrian leader.

“Kuwait is still a state of law and has a fair justice system and the ambassador should sue anyone who commits sacrilege against President Bashar Al Assad,” Husain Al Qallaf said, Kuwaiti media reported.

The rally in front of the Syrian embassy was a real joke and proved beyond any doubt that some people do not understand politics or political speeches, Al Qallaf reportedly said.

On Tuesday, Bahraini lawmakers and religious leaders called for the expulsion of the Syrian ambassadors from all Arab and Islamic countries and for severing all ties with Damascus.

Citing the “need to put an end to the atrocities perpetrated against the Syrian people,” participants at a gathering held in Muharraq, Bahrain’s second largest city, said that Arab and Islamic countries “should not lapse into silence and should take action against the Syrian regime”.

Kuwait and fellow GCC member Bahrain on Tuesday recalled their ambassador in Damascus “for consultations”, one day after Saudi Arabia summoned its envoy.

Qatar was the first GCC country to close its embassy and summon its top diplomat in the Syrian capital following an attack on the Qatari mission on July 11.

Relations between Qatar and Syria deteriorated amid strong criticism by Damascus of the Doha-based Al Jazeera channel for its coverage of the events in Syria.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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