Syria FM, UN chief in verbal clash at conference - Israel News, Ynetnews
 
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Syria FM, UN chief in verbal clash at conference

Published: 01.22.14, 15:40 / Israel News

The bell ran five times during Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem's speech Wednesday at the opening session of the Syrian peace conference, signaling he had exceeded the time limit. But al-Moallem refused to stop, setting off a tense exchange with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that showed the tensions in trying to resolve Syria's bloody conflict.

 

Here's the exchange:

 

Ban: Can you just wrap up please.

 

Al-Moallem: I came here after 12 hours in the airplane, I have few more minutes to end my speech. This is Syria.

 

Ban: How much do you have left now?

 

Al-Moallem: I think 5-10 minutes.

 

Ban: No, no. I will give you another opportunity to speak.

 

Al-Moallem: No, I cannot divide my speech. I must continue ... I will do my best to be fast.

 

Ban: Can you just wrap up in one or two minutes?

 

Al-Moallem: No, I can't promise you, I must finish my speech. ... You live in New York, I live in Syria. I have the right to give the Syrian version here in this forum. After three years of suffering, this is my right.

 

Ban: We have to have some constructive and harmonious dialogue, please refrain from inflammatory rhetoric.

 

Al-Moallem: It is constructive, I promise you, let me finish.

 

Ban: Within 2-3 minutes please, I will give you another opportunity.

 

Al-Moallem: You spoke for 25 minutes, at least I need to speak 30 minutes.

 

Few minutes later, Ban interrupts again. Al-Moallem says he has one sentence left, to which Ban asks him to keep his promise.

 

"Syria always keeps its promises," al-Moallem replied, triggering approving laughter from the Syrian government delegation behind him and a wry grin from Ban.

 

 

 

 

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