Following Hariri assassination: US recalls ambassador from Syria
Washington has recalled its ambassador to Syria amid mounting tensions over the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic al-Hariri.
Before departing, US Ambassador Margaret Scobey delivered a stern note, called a demarche in diplomatic parlance, to the Syrian government, said an official who discussed the situation on condition of anonymity.
US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, announcing the move, said it reflected the Bush administration's "profound outrage" over Hariri's assassination. Boucher did not accuse Syria of being involved in the bombing Monday in Beirut. "I have been careful to say we do not know who committed the murder at this time," he said.
However, he said the deadly attack illustrated that Syria's strong military and political presence in Lebanon was a problem and had not provided security in the neighboring country. "It reminds us even more starkly that the Syrian presence in Lebanon is not good," Boucher said. "It has not brought anything to the Lebanese people."
Boucher refused to describe Syria's reaction to Scobey's diplomatic messages in Damascus. Syria has not yet taken any reciprocal action, such as withdrawing its own amabssador to Washington.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan, apparently referring to the note Scobey delivered to the Syrian foreign ministry, said the United States has "made it clear to Syria that we expect Syria to act in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolution calling for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and the disbanding of militias."
Furthermore, McClellan said, "We also made it clear to Syria that we want them to use their influence to prevent the kind of terroist attack that took place yesterday from happening."
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)