The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 4, 2006

Statement on U.S. Condemnation of Embassy Burnings in Syria

The United States condemns in the strongest terms the burning of the Danish and Norwegian Embassies in Damascus, Syria today, which also damaged the Chilean and Swedish Embassies. The Government of Syria's failure to provide protection to diplomatic premises, in the face of warnings that violence was planned, is inexcusable.

The State Department has told the Syrian Ambassador that Syria must act decisively to protect all foreign embassies and citizens in Damascus from attack. We will hold Syria responsible for such violent demonstrations since they do not take place in that country without government knowledge and support.

We urge all governments to take measures now to lower tensions and prevent violence, including against any diplomatic premises and against businesses and individuals. We stand with our friends and allies in urging a constructive and peaceful dialogue emphasizing respect for all religious faiths.

We commend Danish Prime Minster Rasmussen's responsible statements in recent days urging tolerance and respect for all faiths and for freedom of the press. We stand in solidarity with Denmark and our European allies in opposition to the outrageous acts in Syria today.

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