Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem delivered Syria’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly’s 73th session.
In the speech, al-Moallem affirmed that Syria is bent on cleansing all of its territory from terrorism and evicting any illegal foreign presence.
He reassured that the situation on the ground in Syria has become safer and more stable with the battle against terrorism nearing its end ‘contrary to the bets and wishes of some’, indicating that Syria is keen to push ahead with the political track in parallel with counterterrorism, reconstruction and the return of the displaced files. This, he added, is in line with preserving the firm national principles as represented by Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.
Al-Moallem blasted governments which have denied Syria its enshrined right to fight terrorism and protect its own people ‘on its own soil and within its boundaries,’ forging an illegal coalition led by the United States with the stated claim of fighting terrorism. “But this Coalition has fought everything but terrorism…Instead; it has proved that its goals are almost the same as those of terrorist groups, mainly fostering chaos, death and destruction.
The Coalition, al-Moallem continued, has entirely flattened Raqqa city, destroyed infrastructure and basic service institutions and committed atrocities against civilians, all designated war crimes according to international law. On the other hand, the Coalition has provided direct military support for terrorists in the fight against the Syrian army.
Al-Moallem said the situation in Syria is inseparable from the situation on the international arena where two axes are at loggerheads: one which seeks to spread peace, stability and prosperity in the world and promotes a culture of dialogue and mutual understanding, and respects international law, while another is keen to force chaos on international relations and maintains a colonialist and hegemonic mentality to realize narrow interests, even if this takes resort to dirty tactics such as backing terrorism and economic embargo to subjugate peoples and governments which reject foreign dictates and hold on to their independent decision.
‘‘Now that the situation on the ground is safer and more stable thanks to the achievements against terrorism, and given the government’s unrelenting efforts to rehabilitate areas destroyed by terrorism and bring back normalcy, the situation is now suitable for the voluntary return of the Syrian refugees to their homeland which they fled due to terrorism and the unilateral coercive economic measures which targeted them in their livelihoods.”
Al-Moallem said the return of “every displaced Syrian is a priority for the Syrian government, and doors are wide open for all Syrians abroad to return voluntarily and safely. This applies to Syrians inside and outside Syria,” he added.
The minister pledged every effort, with the assistance of Russia, to help the displaced Syrians return, citing the formation of a special coordination body to facilitate their return and help them build normal lives again.
Al-Moallem blamed Western states for attempts to obstruct the return of the displaced Syrians by discouraging them under lame pretexts, politicizing this humanitarian file and using it as a card to advance political agendas, which he considered a continuation of the role they have played since the beginning of the crisis in Syria.
Al-Moallem said Syria welcomes the initiatives of countries that have not been involved in the aggression against it and have embraced a firm and clear approach against terrorism during the reconstruction stage, with friendly countries which have stood by Syria given the advantage in the reconstruction programs. The countries who are predicating their participation in the rebuilding process on preconditions and restrictions are “not welcomed and not invited in the first place,” he added.
Syria has reacted positively to the outcomes of the Syrian-Syrian dialogue congress in Sochi and put forward an integrated vision of how the committee to discuss the Constitution must be formed and run, handing a list of the members whom the Syrian state supports, al-Moallem added.
The committee’s action framework and powers are confined to discussing the current constitution which is completely led and owned by Syria with the special envoy for Syria as a facilitator of the Committee’s work, he affirmed, rejecting any preconditions or conclusions related the Committee’s work or recommendations.
“The Syrians have the final say in any matter related to the Constitution or any other sovereign affair,’’ he added.
Al-Moallem pointed out that national reconciliations have been proceeding actively which have helped in stemming bloodshed and sparing many areas destruction, and brought back security and stability to these areas and enabled their inhabitants to return.
Syria’s battle with terrorism has not only been military but also cultural: It was a battle between a culture of destruction, extremism and death, and a culture of construction, tolerance and life, he added, calling for the enforcement of UN counterterrorism acts with a special reference to resolution No. 2253.
Al-Moallem reiterated Syria’s position against the use of chemical weapons which it considers “reprehensible’, indicating that Syria has disposed of its chemical weapons and fulfilled its obligations in this regard as confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)’s reports.
‘’Every time Syria declared willingness to receive professional and objective teams to conduct investigations into chemical weapons allegations, these countries would place hindrances because they already knew that the findings will not be compatible with their vicious goals and intentions,” al-Moallem said, citing in this regard the prefabricated scenarios and charges which were invoked to justify a tripartite aggression against Syria last April.
Al-Moallem said that Syria has repeatedly warned of terrorist organizations obtaining chemical weapons and cited incidents when they used chemical weapons to frame the Syrian government, which went unheeded.
Al-Moallem affirmed that any foreign presence of the Syrian soil without the consent of the Syrian government is deemed illegal and a violation of the international law and the UN Charter which obstructs the mission to eradicate terrorism and threatens regional peace and security, adding that Syria considers the US, French and Turkish troops as “occupying forces” and will be treated accordingly.
Al-Moallem demanded that the international community takes action to end Israeli practices in the Syrian Golan and to pressure Israel to implement the relevant UN resolutions, and pushing for the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and the return of the Palestinian refugees to their lands according to international legitimacy resolutions.
Concluding the speech, al-Moallem said Syria strongly condemns the decision of the US administration to pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran, which proves once again its lack of commitment with international treaties and agreements, reaffirming solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran.