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Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many diplomatic staff represent the United Kingdom in Syria; how many there were (a) five years ago, (b) 10 years ago and (c) 15 years ago; what plans are in place to change the number of diplomatic staff in Syria in the next five months; and if he will make a statement. [113290]

There are currently 13 Diplomatic Staff in our embassy in Damascus plus two Ministry of Defence staff attached to the Mission. There were 12 Diplomatic Staff in 1998 and 1993. In 1988 there were only six Diplomatic Staff.We have no plans to withdraw any Diplomatic Staff from Syria in the next five months.