Russia Today — Sept 30, 2013
The Syrian government is fighting against “terrorist groups from 83 countries” as part of its “constitutional right” to protect the country’s people, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told the UN General Assembly in New York.
In his speech to the UN Assembly, Muallem on Monday dismissed the definition of the Syrian conflict as a civil war, saying that the Syrian government is engaged in a “war against terrorism that recognizes no values, nor justice, nor equality, and disregards any rights or laws.”
“Confronting this terror in my country requires the international community to act in accordance with relevant resolutions on countering terrorism, particularly the UNSC resolution No. 1373 of 2001,” he said.
The Syrian Foreign Minister said that “terrorists from more than 83 countries are engaged in the killing of our people and our army under the appeal of global Takfiri jihad.”
Terrorist groups, including those linked to Al-Qaeda, who are violating Syrian people’s human rights “on a daily basis,” he stressed. Any Syrians who do not share the extremist ideology risk being “killed, slaughtered,” with the women also taken as “captives on the basis of perverted concepts of religion that have nothing to do with Islam.”
‘Foreign countries supply rebels with chemical agents’
“We are the ones who were targeted by poisonous gases in Khan Al-Assal, near Aleppo,” Muallem asserted, saying that Syria asked the UN inspectors to include in its mandate the ability to determine who used chemical weapons, but that it was omitted due to pressure from the US, the UK and France.
Syria had “waited for five months” for the UN chemical inspectors to arrive, and even before the completion of their work “certain states began beating the drums of war,” Muallem said. He added that Syria was committed to fully implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention and cooperate closely with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Syria’s top diplomat went on to question whether those countries “supplying terrorists” with weapons would “abide by their legal commitments,” saying there “remains the challenge” that they would not do so.
Muallem then accused “regional and Western countries that are well known to all of us” of supplying chemical agents to “terrorists who used poisonous gases” in Syria.
Syria calls for “necessary and prompt measures to compel those well-known countries that finance, arm, train and provide a safe haven and passage for terrorists coming from different countries of the world,” Muallem said.
‘Geneva-2 talks should start without preconditions’
At the same time, Muallem called on the United States, as well as European and other countries, “to refrain from adopting immoral, unilateral economic measures that contradict the rules of international law and the principles of free trade.”
He called on the US to stop “all unilateral coercive measures” imposed on Syria, Venezuela, Belarus, Iran and North Korea, as well to lift the economic blockade of Cuba.
Syria has “repeatedly announced that she embraces a political solution of its crisis,” Muallem said, saying that now it is time for “those who claim to support” such a solution “to stop all hostile practices and policies against Syria, and to head to Geneva without preconditions.”
President Assad’s government has said it is ready to take part in a so-called “Geneva-2” peace conference – UN-backed talks with the participation of the Syrian government, the Syrian opposition, Russia, the US and other regional players – called to implement the Geneva Communiqué of June 30, 2012. However, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), which has been proposed to represent the opposition, demanded that Assad would not be part of a transitional government discussed at the talks – a precondition Damascus rejects.
Despite SNC President Ahmad Jarba’s recent letter to the UN saying that the coalition “reaffirms its willingness” to take part in the Geneva-2 conference, the UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi is still “having trouble gathering the opposition” in Geneva, Syrian FM Muallem said in an interview with Sky News Arabia on Saturday.