Al Muallem at the UN
Photo: AP

Syria's FM slams West for sanctions

Walid al Muallem criticizes US, EU during speech at United Nations General Assembly, says 'by targeting Syrian economy with sanctions, West jeopardizes interests, basic daily needs of Syrian people'

On the same podium where many international leaders called to impose sanctions on his country for the brutal crackdown against protesters, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem on Monday addressed the United Nations General Assembly.


In his address, Muallem said there are two sides to the problem Syria faces today: "On the one hand, the country needs the people-driven political, economic and social reform...On the other hand, popular demands and claims have been manipulated to further objectives which are alien to the interests and express desires of the Syrian people.


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"These demands were the stepping stone used by armed groups to sow discord and sabotage our security," he said.


Commenting on international calls to impose sanctions on Syria, the foreign minister said: "We deeply regret the surge in the activities of armed groups in Syria which have not waned and instead continued to spiral. The presence of these groups, which of itself is the other aspect of the problem in Syria, is the manifestation of foreign intervention. .


"Armed violence surges in tandem with multiple economic sanctions. By targeting the Syrian economy with sanctions, the United States and the European Union jeopardize the interests and the basic daily subsistence needs of the Syrian people.


"This course cannot in any way be reconciled with pronouncements about concern for the interests, security and rights of the Syrian people. It further runs counter to the basic principles of human rights in defense of which these States base their interference in our internal affairs," he noted.


'Talks failed due to Israeli position'

Addressing the Palestinian statehood bid, the foreign minister said: "Syria spared no effort in support of the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people and championed resistance movements. Syria upheld its inalienable right to liberate the entire occupied Syrian Golan to the line of June 4,1967.


"At the same time, Syria extended a hand of friendship to all states, and built its international relations on mutual respect and reinforcing interests. It used its leverage to serve and promote the centerpiece of Syrian national prerogatives, namely the Middle East question to liberate the land and restore the rights," he noted.


Muallem claimed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians failed due to "Israeli well known

positions and measures. Therefore, the international community's pursuit of the recognition of Palestinian Statehood on the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 is legitimate.


"It is a positive step in the direction of restoring all the Palestinian rights. Syria calls on the international community to support this request."


Violence continues

On Monday, four Syrian soldiers were shot dead as they tried to escape a military camp and troops sealed off towns in a continuing crackdown on opponents of President Bashar Assad, activists said.


The military campaign has focused on towns and villages north of the city of Homs, where increasing numbers of defectors have been organizing and mounting guerrilla raids on roadblocks manned by troops and gunmen loyal to Assad.


The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain, said the four soldiers were killed by military police when they tried to flee their post in the northern province of Idlib, which borders Turkey. Another seven soldiers were arrested.


In the town of Rastan, north of Homs, three people were injured when troops opened fire with heavy machine guns mounted on tanks surrounding the town, which lies on the main northern highway leading to Turkey, residents said.


Faced with expanding street protests demanding an end to 41 years of Assad family rule, the president has sent troops and tanks into cities and towns across the country.


The military crackdown has killed at least 2,700 people, including 100 children, according to the United Nations. Syrian authorities say 700 police and army have been killed during the unrest which they blame on "terrorists" and "mutineers".




פרסום ראשון: 09.26.11, 21:30
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