President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani has barred a top Syrian official from entering the parliament building to attend a meeting on Syria amid recent tensions concerning the Arab country.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Ayman Soussan, who was scheduled to hold a meeting on Monday with MEP Javier Couso, has been denied access to the European Parliament, media reported on Friday.
"Please be advised that, following the recent use of chemical weapons and the subsequent developments, I have decided not to authorize this event on parliamentary premises," Tajani said, according to a copy of a directive obtained by AFP.
US President Donald Trump ordered American warships in the Mediterranean Sea to fire 59 cruise missiles during the early hours of Friday at a Syrian airfield southeast of Homs, from where the US president claimed an alleged chemical weapons attack had been launched on the town of Khan Shaykhun in the northwestern province of Idlib on April 4.
"Politically, it is clearly inopportune to hold this conference," Tajani said.
"For security reasons, I have also decided not to authorize Mr Ayman Soussan access to the European Parliament," he added.
In response, Couso said he "complies and respects" the directive issued by the EP head. However, he stressed that he was opposed to closing the doors of dialog.
"I think it is a bad sign that in moments of war the European Parliament closes spaces for the word and for the dialectical confrontation of different visions, which is the essence of politics," Couso said referring to the ban.
He also called on Tajani and the European External Action Service to "join a conciliatory effort to create spaces for understanding."
Couso said the "only way to achieve a just and lasting peace in Syria is dialog between all reliable parties" in the conflict.
Soussan and Couso were set to hold talks on Syria's conflict and explore ways to resolve it.