The following is the text of a statement by Daniel Rubinstein, Special Envoy for Syria, on suspension of Syrian Embassy operations:
This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Syrian revolution. For three years, Bashar al-Assad has refused to heed the call of the Syrian people to step aside. He has directed a war against his own people and created a humanitarian catastrophe in order to hold on to power and protect his narrow interests.
Following the announcement that the Syrian Embassy has suspended its provision of consular services, and in consideration of the atrocities the Assad regime has committed against the Syrian people, we have determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by that regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations in the United States.
Consequently, the United States notified the Syrian government today that it must immediately suspend operations of its Embassy in Washington, D.C. and its honorary consulates in Troy, Michigan, and Houston, Texas. Syrian diplomats at the embassy and Syrian honorary consulates are no longer permitted to perform diplomatic or consular functions and those who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents must depart the United States.
Despite the differences between our governments, the United States continues to maintain diplomatic relations with the state of Syria as an expression of our longstanding ties with the Syrian people, an interest that will endure long after Bashar al-Assad leaves power.
The United States will continue to assist those seeking change in Syria, to help end the slaughter, and to resolve the crisis through negotiations – for the benefit of the Syrian people.