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Makdissi not at Beirut embassy: U.K.

Syria's Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi speaks during a press conference in Damascus, Syria, on Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman)

BEIRUT: Britain’s ambassador to Lebanon denied Wednesday a report by a local daily that Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi may have taken shelter at the U.K. mission.

“Seen article suggesting Jihad Makdissi in our embassy. If journalist had checked, could have explained this is obviously Grade A nonsense,” Tom Fletcher said in Twitter post.

He was responding to a local news report that suggested Makdissi he may have sought refuge at the British Embassy in Beirut.

The report by the daily Al-Liwaa Wednesday cited a well-informed source as saying that Makdissi’s action was to pave the way for seeking political asylum in the U.K.

There have been conflicting reports as to the whereabouts of Makdissi.

The pro-Syrian government newspaper Al-Watan said Tuesday Makdissi took a sanctioned leave for three months, following reports of the diplomat's resignation.

On Dec. 3, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Makdissi had been "pressured by people inside the presidential palace, but not the president himself, to resign" and had travelled to London with his family.

Regional diplomatic sources have told The Daily Star that Makdissi resigned from his position in frustration.

In early December, Lebanese security officials said Makdissi left to London.

However, the British Foreign Office could not confirm his arrival in the U.K.

 

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