Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on United Kingdom-Syria Diplomatic Relations


October 24, 1986


Today the British Government has broken diplomatic relations with Syria as a result of Syrian Government involvement in the attempt to bomb an El Al passenger airplane. The conviction of Nizer Hindawi and his sentencing to 45 years in prison reflects the gravity of the crime and the natural response of a civilized nation. The President notes that had it not been for the vigilance of those responsible for security at Heathrow Airport, over 400 persons, including 230 Americans, would have perished.


A state that encourages and takes part in terrorism isolates itself from the civilized world. The United States will consult and cooperate with others to bring practical meaning to that isolation -- diplomatically, politically, economically.


We applaud the reaction of Her Majesty's government. We support the British decision. Our Ambassador is being withdrawn from Syria. In the coming days we will be in close consultation with Her Majesty's government and other allies regarding additional steps that we and others will take.