Three Canadian embassies in the Middle East close for one day Sunday

OTTAWA – Canada is closing three of its Middle East embassies for the day today because of continued security concerns.

A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says the missions in Egypt, Libya and Sudan will not be open to ensure the safety of diplomatic staff.

The U-S State Department ordered the departure of all family members and non-essential personnel on Saturday from posts in Sudan and Tunisia.

It blames the security situation in the capitals of Tunis and Khartoum.

The Canadian mission in Tunis is normally closed on Sunday.

The moves follow a wave of protests and violence over an anti-Muslim film that has swept across the Middle East and other Muslim countries in recent days.

The obscure, amateurish movie made in the U.S. is called “Innocence of Muslims” and depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a pedophile.

The Canadian embassy in Cairo also closed on Thursday because of the angry protests at the nearby American embassy.

The normal Egyptian weekend is Friday-Saturday so the Cairo embassy has been closed since.

The Harper government shuttered its embassy in Tehran and severed diplomatic ties with Iran earlier this month, in part because it said it was concerned about the safety of Canadian diplomats.




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