The US State department has banned the movement of Syria’s UN delegation, headed by Bashar al-Jaafari, to within a 25-mile (40 km) radius of New York City.
Jaafari has served as Syria’s envoy to the UN since 2006 and has been an unwavering supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the 3-year long civil war. Jaafari has not yet commented on the restriction.
The United States has not given a reason for the travel ban, but State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said that such travel limits were not unheard of.
“UN delegates of certain countries are required to notify us or obtain permission prior to travel outside of a 25-mile radius. So this is not something out of the realm of what we’ve done before,” she told reporters in Washington.
North Korean and Iranian diplomats are also restricted to a 25-mile radius of the Columbus Intersection in Manhattan.
Last year Jaafari complained to the General Assembly of the United Nations about the UN’s double standards in the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which he said did not condemn the crimes of foreign backed terrorists on Syrian soil.
Talks between the Syrian government and the opposition fell apart last month, with both sides repeating their previous positions and blaming each other for the impasse.
Observers also note that the Syrian opposition has now become deeply fragmented and radicalized and is not represented by those attending the Geneva peace talks.