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Jordan expels Syrian ambassador: state media

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Bahjat Suleiman AFP - The Jordanian government on Monday expelled Syria's ambassador to Amman, Bahjat Suleiman, over his "repeated insults" to the kingdom and other countries, demanding he leave within 24 hours.

"The government considers the Syrian ambassador to Jordan persona non grata and demanded he leave the country within 24 hours," state-run Petra news agency reported, quoting foreign ministry spokeswoman Sabah Rafi.

"The decision comes after Suleiman's repeated insults to Jordan and its leadership, institutions and citizens, through his meetings, writings and social media websites," she said.

Rafi added that the government "had repeatedly warned Suleiman not to exploit Jordanian hospitality."

"Suleiman used Jordan as a platform to question its positions and threw false accusations and allegations against the kingdom," she said.

"He also used Jordan to directly insult brotherly and neighbouring Arab countries and insult their leaderships."

In June, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh told Suleiman to stop criticising the country or risk expulsion.

The warning came after Suleiman attacked Jordan for hosting a meeting of the anti-Syrian government "Friends of Syria" group, which includes Jordan.

"Suleiman's insults exceeded diplomatic norms, practices and accords," Rafi said.

Jordan, home to around 600,000 Syrian refugees, has been careful in dealing with the devastating war in Syria, repeatedly expressing fears that it could spread, and concerns about the impact of its jihadist fighters.

Damascus has accused Amman of backing the three-year uprising against President Bashar al-Assad by training and arming rebels, but Jordan denies this and says it has tightened its border and jailed dozens trying to cross it illegally.