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Defecting Syrian ambassador in Qatar: Iraqi minister

07-12-2012 18:49 BJT

BAGHDAD, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Thursday that the defecting Syrian ambassador to Iraq is now in Qatar, an Iraqi official television reported.

"The Syrian ambassador Nawaf al-Fares, who announced his defection from his regime, has left Baghdad and is now in Qatar," the state-run Iraqia channel quoted Zebari as saying to reporters during his visit in Paris.

Earlier in the day, Fares announced his resignation from the post of Syrian ambassador to Iraq, as well as his defection from Syria's ruling Baath party, in protest of "the terrible massacre by the regime."

"From this moment I announce my joining to the ranks of my Syrian people, which is my natural place in such difficult circumstances," Fares said in a video aired by Qater-based al- Jazeera satellite channel.

For its part, the Syrian government announced Thursday it has relieved Fares from his duties after reports claiming that he had defected.

The Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement that Fares has made comments to the media that run counter to his duties in defending his country.

It said legal actions should be levelled against the ambassador after his media remarks and leaving Baghdad without prior permission by the Syrian authorities.

The ambassador's defection is the first high profile defection by senior Syrian diplomats after 16 months of bloody unrest.


Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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