NEW YORK – Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Walid al-Moualem took the UN dais on
Monday morning in New York in the penultimate day of the UN General Debate. His
message: There is no civil war in Syria.
The Syrian government is merely
trying desperately to fight foreign-sponsored terrorists and provide
humanitarian aid to its beleaguered people, he said.
In his relatively
short speech, Moualem took aim at certain “known countries” who he accused of
financing and arming the terrorist groups fighting his government.
is no civil war in Syria,” he said.
“It is a war against terror that
recognizes no values, nor justice, nor equality, and disregards any rights or
He called on the international community to “confront this terror”
and to confront the “well-known countries that finance, arm, train and provide
safe haven for terrorists.”
He specifically named the United States and
European Union for imposing sanctions that he called “immoral, unilateral
economic measures that contradict the rules of international law and principles
of free trade.”
“The cessation of aggressive policies against Syria is
the first step on the road towards the solution in my country,” he said. “Any
political solution in light of the continued support of terrorism, whether
through supplying arms, funding or training, is mere illusion and
“There remain those who do not want a political solution and
always resort to aggression, either directly or through their agents on the
ground,” Moualem said. “Syria has committed itself to a political
Moualem went on to accuse these terrorist groups of kidnapping
children and turning them into soldiers, sexual crimes, and other
“The scenes of murder, manslaughter, and eating human hearts
were shown on TV screens but did not touch blind consciences…. The claims about
the existence of moderate militants and extremist militants have become a bad
joke. Terrorism means only terrorism; it cannot be classified as moderate
terrorism and extremist terrorism.”
He further talked about the dire
humanitarian situation and appealed to New Yorkers for
“The people New York have witnessed the devastations of
terrorism and were burned with the fire of extremism and bloodshed, the same way
we are suffering now in Syria,” he said. “How can some countries, hit by the
same terrorism we are suffering now in Syria, claim to fight terrorism in all
parts of the world, while supporting it in my country?” Moualem also took a
moment to sound off against the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights and
declare Syria’s support for the Palestinian people. He also called on Israel to
ratify “all treaties banning [nuclear] weapons” to make the Middle East a
Moualem also said that Syria’s accession to the Treaty on
the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons means that his country is renewing its call
for a nuclear-free region.
“Syria is known for fulfilling its obligations
and commitments,” he said. “Therefore, I assure you of Syria’s commitment to the
full implementation of the provisions of the Convention, and to cooperate with
the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] as a state party
to the Convention.”
He accused the “terrorist” groups in Syria of using
“poisonous gases” and of having received these chemical agents “from regional
and Western countries that are well known to all of us.”
He concluded by
commending the United States and Iran for their friendly overtures last week,
and said Syria “looks positively at [their] efforts to bridge the gap of
mistrust between the two countries.”
The UN chemical weapons inspection
team, led by Dr. Åke Selltröm of Sweden, departed Syria on Monday after
completing its six-day mission, marking the end of its second trip to the
region. In total, the team will investigate seven alleged chemical attacks, with
a mandate simply to discover whether an attack took place, not to assign blame.
Its second report should be ready by late October, spokesman for the UN
Secretary-General Martin Nesirky said.
Nesirky also confirmed on Monday
that a team from the OPCW had departed for Syria and was scheduled to begin its
mission of destroying the chemical-weapons stockpiles on Tuesday. Nesirky would
not elaborate on the team’s mission beyond that it has a “tight
According to the OPCW, the chemicalweapons convention enters
into force for Syria on October 14, 2013.
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