Syria apologises over Swedish embassy burning

Sweden's foreign minister Laila Freivalds has spoken to her Syrian counterpart expressing serious concern that the Swedish embassy in Damascus was torched on Saturday as part of the protests over the Danish cartoons.

“He sincerely apologised over what had happened and that they couldn’t prevent it,” said Freivalds to TT.

“The explanation is that the intelligence they had did not indicate that this sort of thing could happen – it was exceptional,” she added.

Syrian foreign minister Faruq al-Shara informed Freivalds that a special committee had been formed to investigate the incident and who was responsible.

Freivalds also inquired about the security of Swedish citizens in Syria.

“He assured me that there were no threats directed at Swedes and that they could guarantee that all Swedes could feel safe.”

The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not changed its travel recommendations for Syria.

“The discussion is still going on, but as things stand now there will be no changes to the advice,” said Christian Carlsson at the ministry press office to TT on Sunday morning.

Denmark’s government, on the other hand, wants all Danes to leave Syria without delay. The government is said to be considering further political measures, reported the Ritzau news agency. The Norwegian authorities have also told its citizens to leave Syria as a result of the demonstrations in Damascus.