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U.S., Canadian Ambassadors Leave Syria

October 26, 1986

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) _ The U.S. and Canadian ambassadors to Syria, both called home after Britain linked Damascus to international terror, left aboard the same flight to Frankfurt, West Germany on Sunday.

Both planned to make connections there for their respective capitals.

Asked by reporters when he would return, U.S. Ambassador William Eagleton replied, ″I am myself going to ask the same question to my superiors in Washington.″

″Your country is a beautiful country ...,″ said Ambassador Jacques Noiseux of Canada to Syrian observers of his departure just before boarding the Lufthansa jetliner.

″And I hope to be back very soon, insh’ Allah,″ he added, using the Arabic expression for ″God willing.″

Eagleton was withdrawn and Noiseux recalled immediately following Britain’s decision on Friday to sever diplomatic relations with Syria. Britain said it had conclusive evidence that Syria was involved in the attempted bombing of an Israeli jetliner at London’s Heathrow Airport in April.

Nezar Hindawi, a Jordanian with a forged Syrian passport, was convicted in a British court Friday of attempting to blow up an Israeli jet by planting explosives in his girlfriend’s luggage.

When an ambassador is withdrawn, it usually means he or she will not return to the diplomatic post for an indefinite period. A recall is a less severe measure, generally involving a trip home for consultations for a few days or weeks.

Britain must withdraw its entire embassy staff.

British Ambassador Roger Tomkys, given until Friday to leave, said in a telephone interview Saturday that he was ″heavily engaged in packing.″

″We have administrative things to deal with,″ he said. ″We’re now discussing with the Syrians on establishing interest sections with other embassies in London and Damascus.″