Belgium's foreign minister Didier Reynders speaks during a press conference on March 27, 2012.
Belgium's foreign minister Didier Reynders speaks during a press conference on March 27, 2012. Photo by AFP
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Belgium announces it is closing its embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus and reducing its diplomatic relations with Syria to delegation level, with immediate effect Thursday.

According to a Press release by the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs, Belgium is closing its Embassy in Syria as a result of “the deteriorating security situation in Damascus in recent weeks.”

Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs announced that Belgium would relegate diplomatic relations in protest against “the continued violence carried out by the Syrian authorities against their own people.”

“For over a year now the authorities have responded to the wishes of the Syrian people for democratic reform only with increasing repression resulting in many deaths. For Belgium and a large part of the international community, this is unacceptable,“ the press release said.

While the Belgian Ambassador and two of his colleagues are being recalled immediately and will leave Damascus, a Belgian diplomat will be installed as a temporary delegate, working out of the European Union Representation building in Damascus.

On Monday, Turkey suspended all activities at its embassy in the Syrian capital. Countries including France, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States have already closed their embassies in Syria