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US Blocks Entry of New Syrian Diplomat

  • VOA News

The U.S. State Department has blocked a Syrian diplomat sent by President Bashar al-Assad's government from entering the United States and reaching the Syrian embassy in Washington.

State Department spokeswoman Jan Psaki confirmed the move Wednesday, saying the visa of the diplomat, identified as Ali Daghman, has been revoked. She linked the revocation to "the Syrian regime's continuing assault on its own people."

U.S. officials said earlier that Daghman's visa was issued by mistake, and that he was awaiting deportation from Washington's Dulles International Airport.

Word of the visa mix-up triggered complaints on Capitol Hill and with Syrian exile opposition groups. The critics said that even the initial move to grant a visa sends a signal the Obama administration is not serious about its stated commitment to the ouster of Assad's government.

Syria does not have an ambassador at its Washington embassy, which functions with a skeleton staff. The United States has closed its diplomatic post in Damascus.

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