Czech Republic Buys Armored Car for Ambassador in Syria

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The Czech Republic has bought a special armored BMW X5 car for its ambassador in Syria, the Czech News Agency quoted a Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

The Czech Republic has bought a special armored BMW X5 car for its ambassador in Syria, the Czech News Agency quoted a Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

The vehicle, which is to protect Ambassador Eva Filipi as the conflict inside Syria is escalating, cost 4 million Czech korunas ($194,000).

Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman Karel Srol said his country, unlike many other European states, does not plan to close its diplomatic mission in Damascus.

This week, the Czech embassy started representing the United States in consular issues in Syria.

U.S. diplomats left Syria’s capital in February. The U.S. interests were initially represented by Poland, which closed its diplomatic mission in Syria in late July citing security concerns.

Since March 2011, the Syrian conflict has claimed 14,000-20,000 lives, according to estimates by various Syrian opposition groups. The West is pushing for President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, while Russia and China are trying to prevent outside interference in Syria saying the Assad regime and the opposition are both to blame for the bloodshed.

International diplomatic efforts have failed to force the conflicting sides to stop the bloodshed and begin talks. Russia and China have three times vetoed Western draft resolutions on Syria fearing the repetition of “the Libyan scenario” in Syria.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said earlier Thursday that Kofi Annan, UN and Arab League special envoy on Syria, is quitting the post of the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria. Ban said in a statement Annan had decided not to renew his mandate when it expires on August 31.

 

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