DAMASCUS, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the Syrian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates ( UAE) has been off-duty since June 4.
The ministry's statement came on the heels of media reports circulated a day earlier about the defection of Abdulatif al- Dabbagh along with his wife, Lamia Hariri, who is also said to have defected from her diplomat post in Cyprus.
Reports said that Dabbagh and Hariri have headed to Qatar.
But Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told Xinhua that Dabbagh arrived in Syria on June 4 for consultation upon the request of the ministry, adding that the embassy in UAE " since then was run by charge d'affairs and now we notified the UAE that he is no longer an ambassador."
The ministry, meanwhile, made clear that Hariri is not ambassador, but a diplomat that has been running the Syrian embassy in Cyprus till an ambassador is appointed.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry also charged that some capitals are encouraging Syrian diplomats to defect their countries and duties in return for some offers, which have been exposed after many of the Syrians, inside and outside the ministry, have repeatedly rejected.
Special Report: Syrian Situation