Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement today (29 May):
“I have decided to expel the Syrian ambassador in Berlin. Today, State Secretary Haber had the Syrian ambassador summoned to the Federal Foreign Office to inform him of this decision.
Germany is acting in concert with its partners. We are confident that our clear and firm message will not fall on deaf ears in Damascus.
The Syrian regime bears the responsibility for the horrifying events in Houla. Whoever disregards the resolutions of the Security Council and uses heavy weapons against their own people there or elsewhere in Syria must reckon with serious diplomatic and political consequences.
We will also urge the United Nations Security Council to again address the situation in Syria. The international community must use all available means to see that Kofi Annan’s peace plan is fully implemented.
Even before the events in Houla, it was clear that Syria does not have a future under Assad. He must leave to make way for a peaceful transition in Syria.”
State Secretary Haber has informed the Syrian ambassador that he has been declared persona non grata and must leave Germany within 72 hours.
The basis for the expulsion is Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. In addition to Germany, numerous other European partners as well as the United States and other governments have expelled the heads of their respective local Syrian embassies.
Four employees of the Syrian embassy had already been expelled on 7 February for taking action in Germany against members of the Syrian opposition.