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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US to Deport New Syrian Diplomat

July 10, 2013

by VOA News

The U.S. State Department has blocked a Syrian diplomat sent by President Bashar al-Assad's government from entering the United States and reaching that country's embassy in Washington.

A senior U.S. official told VOA he could not comment on individual cases, but "as a matter of policy - and given the Syrian regime's continuing assault on its own people - [the U.S. has] taken steps to further restrict entry of even the few remaining Syrian officials staffing the embassy in Washington."

American media outlets reported the diplomat, Ali Daghman, was being held at Washington's Dulles International Airport, awaiting deportation to Syria. U.S. officials say he arrived Tuesday, after having mistakenly been issued a visa, which was then revoked.

Word of the mix-up prompted anger from congressional staff members and Syrian exile opposition groups, who said even the initial move to grant a visa sends a signal the Obama administration is not serious about its stated commitment to the ouster of Mr. Assad's government.

Syria does not have an ambassador at its Washington embassy, which functions with a skeleton staff. The United States has closed its diplomatic post in Damascus.

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