UN condemns attacks on embassies in Syria

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council Tuesday condemned in the strongest terms the attacks against embassies in the Syrian capital, Damascus, which they said resulted in damage to the premises and injuries to diplomatic personnel.

According to press reports, the United States and French embassies were attacked by crowds yesterday.

"The members of the Security Council recall the fundamental principle of the inviolability of diplomatic missions and the obligations on host Governments, including under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to take all appropriate steps to protect embassy premises," Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany, which holds the Council's rotating presidency this month, said in a statement read out to the press.

Council members called on the Syrian authorities to protect diplomatic property and personnel. Mr. Ban also stressed that the security of diplomatic missions is the responsibility of the host countries and reminded the Syrian Government of its obligations in this regard.

"The Secretary-General reiterates his call for genuine and credible dialogue and political reforms, which should be carried out without delay," said a statement issued by his spokesperson.

Syria has witnessed months of unrest beginning earlier this year when demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for democratic reform and greater civil liberties. The Government has been criticized for its often violent repression of the protests, part of a broader uprising across the Middle East and North Africa that has been termed the "Arab spring."

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