Canada Shuts Down Embassy, Further Expands Sanctions on Syria - the Globe and Mail
Ottawa had repeatedly warned the embassy in Damascus was on a day-to-day lifeline and withdrew staff who handled visas and passports for Canadian citizens in January. The last of the diplomats at the embassy have already left.
“The embassy’s closed, effective now,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said.
Earlier in the day, Canada expanded economic sanctions against Syria, hitting the country’s central bank and cabinet ministers.
The move is intended to widen the net of sanctions so that sanctions imposed by others, like those announced by the 27-nation European Union last week, cannot be evaded by moving money to Canada.
The new sanctions freeze the assets of Syria’s central bank and bar Canadians from doing business with them. The same freeze and ban were applied to seven new individuals, all ministers in the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including his oil minister, transport minister and industry minister.
Canada first imposed sanctions last May to respond to Mr. al-Assad’s brutal crackdown on opposition protests, and has already widened them four times.
Mr. Baird announced the closure of the embassy in Syria at a joint news conference with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates.