Transcript: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem’s speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 30, 2013
Partial transcript of Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem’s speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 30, 2013:
…Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, this day last year when I addressed this august assembly, our world was facing many events that ravaged it and its nations.
We were full of hope that the scene would change for the better this year but unfortunately, the situation remains the same and in some of world the situation has become even worse.
Many countries are still facing political, economic and financial crises that exceed their ability to confront them on their own.
While the people of the world are looking forward to seeing effective international efforts exerted in order to overcome those crises, what we witness today is an indication of exacerbating and increasing problems since hegemony and domination on the capabilities of people have escalated in a way that contradicts blatantly what the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the norm of international law.
Instead of settling regional and international conflicts by peaceful means, some known countries continue pursuing aggressive policies against certain nations.
Political hypocrisy increased to intervene in the domestic affairs of states under the pretext of humanitarian intervention or the responsibility to protect.
And when those aggressive policies did not prove beneficials for some countries, including my own country, Syria, these well-known states reveal their true face and threaten with blatant military aggression outside the mandate of the Security Council and certain away from any international consensus.
This comes as those same countries impose immoral, illegal, and unilateral coercive measures.
This is in addition to suspicious policies that aim at spreading sedition and turmoil within the fabric of multiple and harmonized national communities that have lived for hundreds of years in harmony, unity and understanding.
Worst of all, some countries have launched destructive major wars under the pretext of combatting terrorism while at the same time they’re the ones supporting terrorism in my country in contradiction of United Nations resolutions and all human and moral values.
Here, once again, I ask the same question I had already asked last year: Was the international consensus on combatting terrorism a serious commitment undertaken by the member states of this organization or was it just mere rhetoric written and then not put into effect?
Mr. President, what is happening in my country has become clear to everyone. Yet, some countries do not want to recognize that Al Qaeda – the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world and its many offshoots like [incomprehensible audio] – are fighting in Syria.
The scenes of murder, manslaughter, and even eating human hearts were shown on TV screens worldwide but did not touch blind consciences.
In my country, Mr. President, there are innocent civilians whose heads are put on the grill just because they violate the extremist ideology and have deviant views of Al Qaeda.
In my country, ladies and gentlemen, there are murderers who dismember human bodies into pieces while still alive and send their limbs to their families just because those citizens are defending a unified and secular Syria.
In my country, those terrorists violate on a daily basis human rights, the right to life, and the right to a livelihood and the citizens’ beliefs and political affiliations. Any Syrian citizen who does not belong to this…ideology is doomed to be killed, slaughtered or the woman of their family taken as captives on the basis of perverted concepts of religion that have nothing to do with Islam.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a civil war. There is no civil war in Syria but it is a war against terror that recognizes no value nor justice nor equality and disregards any rights or laws.
So, confronting this terror in my country requires the international community to act in accordance with relevant resolutions on counter-terrorism, particularly Security Council Resolution 1373 of 2001, and to take all 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.
Mr. President, this city – this very city, New York, and its people have witnessed the devastations of terrorism and were burned with the fire of extremists and bloodshed – the same way we are suffering now in Syria.
How can some countries hit by the same terrorism we are suffering now in Syria claim to be fighting terrorism in all parts of the world while supporting it in my country?
The claims about the existence of Muslim militants and extremist militants have become a bad joke and a senseless one.
Terrorism means only terrorism. It cannot be classified as moderate terrorism and extremist terrorism.
Therefore, I would like to ask you what do you call those who kidnap children in order to sell their body organs outside the country? How would you describe those who recruit children and prevent them from going to schools and instead train them on shooting and killing? How would you describe those who spread perverted fatwas – religious opinions – such as sexual jihad or incest jihad?
Ladies and gentlemen, we are the ones who are targeted by poisonous gases in Khan al-Assal. We have asked for an investigation mission and demanded to include in its mandate the ability to determine who used chemical weapons. However, the United States of America and its allies, France and the United Kingdom, are the ones who prevented that and insisted then to limit the function of the mission to only deciding whether chemical weapons were used or not.
We in Syria waited five months for the mission to come and when it arrived, it was withdrawn before the completion of its task and certain states began beating the drums of war on Syria.
My country has accepted the initiative graciously launched by his excellency President Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation.
Syria by acceding to the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons proves its commitment against the use of such weapons while at the same time calls on the international community to shoulder its responsibility against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
Syria is known for fulfilling its obligations and commitments. Therefore, I assure you of Syria’s commitment to the full implementation of the provisions of the convention and to cooperate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the state party to the convention.
However, there remains the challenge that is facing all of us: Whether those who are supplying terrorists with these types of weapons will abide by the legal commitments since terrorists who use poisonous gases in my country have received chemical agents from regional and Western countries that are well known to all of us. They are the ones using poisonous gases on our military and our civilians alike.
Mr. President, the cessation of aggressive policies against Syria is the first step on the road towards the solution in my country. Any political solution in light of the continued support of terrorism, whether through supplying arms, funding, or training, is mere illusion and misleading.
Syria has repeatedly announced that she embraces a political solution of its crisis. It is now for those who claim to support a political solution in Syria to stop all hostile practices and policies against Syria and to head to Geneva without pre-conditions.
On the basis of the people’s right to self-determination, the Syrian people has the exclusive authority to choose its leadership, its representatives, and its future and political system that accommodates all walks of the Syrian society, including those who were deceived and pushed to take a wrong path.
We in Syria do not bet on any party but the Syrian people who is determined with all of its components to reject all forms of foreign interference in its domestic affairs and to defeat the advocates of sectarianism, extremism, and terrorism.
In my country, Syria, there is a solid connection between state policies and the aspirations of the people.
Ballot boxes for free and fair elections remain the only solution to decide on the options of the Syrian people in determining their own future away from the pressures of terrorism and foreign dictations.
Ladies and gentlemen, there remains those who do not want the political solution and always resort to aggression either directly or through their agents on the ground. And this is what’s happening in Syria.
As I mentioned, Syria has committed itself to a political solution but our commitment to a political solution does not mean allowing terrorism to hit innocent civilians. It does not mean watching our mosques and churches destroyed as it is happening in Homs and Aleppo and is happening now in the town of Ma’loula, the only place in the world whose people still speaks the language of Jesus Christ – peace be upon him.
What is happening to the churches and mosques is affecting as well all the historical heritage of Syria and humanity.
Two representatives of the member state in this august body know that terrorists from more than 83 countries are engaged in the killing of our people and our army under the appeal of global jihad. On the other hand, are some of the member states entitled to demand the Syrian state to ignore its constitutional responsibilities to protect its citizens and to preserve the country’s unity, sovereignty and independence?
The war on terror is not only Syria’s war. One day, those terrorists will return to their respective countries and then no country in the world would be immune of this terrorism which recognizes no borders nor geography.
Mr. President, events in Syria have resulted in growing humanitarian needs in several key sectors. The immoral and inhuman unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union have led to worsening living conditions of Syrian citizens at a time when my government is working in collaboration with the United Nations and international organizations within the framework of the response plan to meet the basic needs of citizens, particularly those who were forced to leave their homes.
It should be noted here that the great number of our people were forced to resort to some neighboring countries due to the activities of armed groups in border areas. Regrettably, those displaced Syrians were put in some countries in military training camps or in what resembles places of detention.
I appeal from this platform to Syrian citizens to return to their towns and villages where the state guarantees their safe return and their livelihood away from the inhuman conditions they suffer in such camps.
I would like to assure our readiness to exert all efforts to deliver aids from international organizations to all Syrian citizens without any discrimination wherever they are in conformity with the General Assembly 46-182 while respecting the sovereignty and independence of Syria.
Mr. President, those developments in my country should not make us lose sight of Palestine and the Syrian Golan. The Syrian Arab Republic confirms its natural rights to fully restore the occupied Syrian Golan up to the line of June 4, 1967 and emphasizes its rejection of all measures taken by Israel to occupy in power to change its natural demographic and geographic features in a clear violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 497 of 1981.
Syria re-confirms its support for the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, in particular the right of return and self-determination and to establish their independent state on their land with Jerusalem as its capital.
Mr. President, after Syria’s accession to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, my country renews its call to the international community to work on establishing a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
In this regard, we would like to remind the international community of the Syrian initiative at the end of its non-permanent membership in the Security Council in 2003 and calls on the Security Council to adopt it.
Syria stresses that establishing a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the region is unachievable without the accession of Israel, the only nuclear power in the region, to all treaties banning such weapons and to put its nuclear facilities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. At the same time, we emphasize the right of all countries to acquire and develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In this respect, Syria condemns the continued blocking by the United States and Israel of holding the international conference on the establishment of a zone-free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, which was scheduled to take place in 2012.
Mr. President, my country calls on the United States and the European Union country and others to refrain from adopting immoral unilateral economic measures that contradict with the rules of international law and the principles of free trade.
Accordingly, we call for the lifting of the blockade imposed by the United States imposed on Cuba for decades. We also renew our call to lift and stop all unilateral coercive measures imposed on Syria and the peoples of other countries such as Venezuela, Belarus, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Mr. President, we hope that the United Nations will lead the peoples of the world towards a better future in order to achieve the aspirations of those peoples in prosperity, development, and food self-sufficiency, away from all forms of tension, confrontation and wars, for the full implementation of the principle and purposes of the United Nations Charter that upholds the sovereignty and the equality of rights and duties of all member states.
In this regard, my country looks positively at the efforts exerted by the United States and Iran in order to bridge the gap of mistrust between the two countries and it hopes that this would be reflected constructively on the stability of international relations.
Thank you, Mr. President.