Syria accuses U.S., France of supporting 'terrorists,' says Israel must join NPT
Syrian FM Walid al-Moualem says U.S. France and others fund and arm 'terrorism'; says Israel should be forced to submit nuclear sites to IAEA supervision.
Syria accused the United States, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey on Monday of hijacking the country's 18-month conflict between government forces and pro-democracy rebel groups by supporting
'terrorism' with arms, money and foreign fighters, and said Israel should be forced to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem told the UN General Assembly that outside calls for President Bashar Assad to step down were a "blatant interference in the domestic affairs of Syria, and the unity of its people and its sovereignty."
During his speech on the final day of the 1930-nation assembly, Walid al-Moualem said that the Mideast should be free of nonconventional weapons, and called for forcing Israel to become a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
A nuclear-free Middle East can not be achieved "without obliging Israel, the only nuclear power in the region, to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty," he said, and forcing her "to submit her nuclear sites to supervision by the International Atomic Energy Agency."
He also discussed the Israel-Palestine conflict and the Golan Heights, saying that "what happens in Syria does not cause use to lose our moral compass, especially in the Palestinian issue, and regarding the return of the Golan Heights. The foreign minister said that Syria maintains a "natural right" over the "occupied Syrian Golan Heights," adding that Syria "rejects strongly the measures taken by Israel in order to increase her hold on the Golan Heights."
Earlier on Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Moualem and strongly criticized the Syrian government for killings, rights abuses, aerial and artillery attacks, and expressed frustration that the conflict was worsening.
In his UN address, Moualem said that Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States, and France "clearly induce and support terrorism in Syria with money, weapons and foreign fighters."
"Under the pretext of concepts such as the 'Responsibility to Protect,' drums of war are beaten, and sedition and unrest are spreading and damaging the structure of national societies," Moualem said.
He was referring to a concept about governments' responsibility to protect civilians that has become increasingly popular in Western diplomatic and academic circles. The concept was used to justify last year's military intervention in Libya.
"Worst of all is to see permanent members of the Security Council, who launched wars under the pretext of combating terrorism, now support terrorism in my country," Moualem said.
Russia, backed by China, repeatedly vetoed Western- and Arab-backed council resolutions that criticized the Syrian government and threatened it with sanctions, saying the United States, Europe and Gulf Arabs were seeking regime change.
Ban "raised in the strongest terms the continued killings, massive destruction, human rights abuses, and aerial and artillery attacks committed by the government," his spokesman said in a statement.
"He stressed that it was the Syrian people who were being killed every day, and appealed to the Government of Syria to show compassion to its own people," the spokesman said.