Syrian FM: Syria formally confirms mission to restore 'Israeli-occupied' Golan Heights

Moualem: Israel "handicapping" possibility of a WMDs-free zone by not signing Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

September 30, 2013 17:45
2 minute read.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem addresses the UN  in New York September 30, 2013.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem addresses un 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Syria is determined to restore the Israeli Golan Heights to Syrian rule, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday in a speech to the UN General Assembly.

"The Syrian Arab Republic confirm their mission to restore the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to Syrian rule and formally rejects all measures taken by Israel to change the geopolitical landscape of the Golan Heights," al-Moualem said.

In the last few months, tensions along the Syrian-Israeli border have been particularly heightened amid fears that the Syrian Civil War will spillover into Israel, and several stray mortars fell inside Israeli territory.

Al-Moualem widened his attack on Israel by slamming Israel's ongoing refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, saying they are "handicapping the possibility of a 'free zone' from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East."

Beyond discussing Syria's personal grievances with Israel, he addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well.

"Syria reiterates its support of the Palestinian people and their right of return to their land, to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital," he said.

While he reserved the brunt of his speech for Israel and the US, the Syrian foreign minister had some strong words to direct towards the Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.

"In my country, ladies and gentlemen, there are murderers who dismember people while they are still alive simply because they support a united and secular Syria," al-Moualem said.

The Syrian foreign minister said that it was wrong to describe the conflict in Syria as a "civil war," rather it should be called a "war on terrorism."

"We must confront this terrorism and I ask the international community, and the UN Security Council in particular, to support Syria in fighting this war on terror and to take all necessary actions against those nations that host terrorists and their terror infrastructures," he said.

"The people of New York have witnessed the devastation of terrorism, and were burned with the fire of extremism and bloodshed, the same way we are suffering now in Syria," Moualem said, referring to the Sept. 11 attacks that brought down the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon.

"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?" he said.

Touching on the recent flare up with the West over the possession and use of chemical weapons against their own people, al-Moualem attempted to redirect attentions by going on the offensive with an attack on the US and the UK.

"The US and the UK have handicapped the UN missions to Syria," he said. "Instead of searching Syria for humanitarian issues, they spent their whole time searching for chemical weapons."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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