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Jan 25, 2012 – DAMASCUS – Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs Walid al-Moallem said the Arab Ministerial Council’s decision, which stipulates what Syria must do, circumvented the Arab observer mission’s report which didn’t satisfy those plotting against Syria who have tried to draw a future for Syria that is very far from the will of the Syrians as if we are a country whose will is usurped, illustrating his point with the proverb “he who lacks something can’t offer it.”

In a press conference held on Tuesday, al-Moallem said that the stance of the Syrian leadership towards what Syria is facing inside and outside is firm and strong, and that the solution in Syria is not that which had been issued by the Arab League; rather the solution is Syrian and based on the interests of the Syrian people and on implementing the comprehensive reform program and dialogue and preserving security.

Al-Moallem stressed that Russia will not approve foreign interference in Syria’s affairs which is a red line, saying that going to the Security Council was expected and that this is the third stage of their plan and they only have one stage left which is summoning foreign interference.

Throughout history, Syria has been a torch teaching them Arabism and Islam, and we will teach them democracy and pluralism

“Throughout history, Syria has been a torch teaching them Arabism and Islam, and we will teach them democracy and pluralism… I don’t want to linger on the interpositions during the ministerial council’s meeting, but I say that if you have no shame, then do as you will,” al-Moallem said.

He pointed out that they who claim to care for the interests of the Syrian people are carrying out instigation and boasting about imposing economic sanctions, taking pride in murdering the Arab League’s role in resolving the crisis and Syria.

“When we received the report of the Arab observer mission, we deduced that its content will not satisfy some Arabs who are implementing the stages of the plan against Syria which was agreed upon abroad,” he said, noting that the protocol and the Arab work plan signed in Doha and the formation of the observer mission came on the behalf of these Arabs who were surprised that Syria agreed to it.

“We thought that maybe they’d be ashamed of themselves and that they would deal with the report objectively… but what expected happened and they bypassed it despite it being the only item on the council’s agenda, presenting a political draft decision that they know in advance that that we will not accept because it violates the sovereignty of Syria and constitutes blatant interference in its internal affairs,” al-Moallem said, noting that the Council didn’t discuss the observer mission’s report in-depth despite the fact that the mission has been in Syrian territories and all governorate for a month.

He said that the new stage of the plan is summoning internationalization to sanction the League’s decisions, which in itself is a confession that the Arab League isn’t qualified to play this role which is why they wanted to go to the Security Council.

Al-Moallem pointed out that the observers’ report affirmed the presence of armed groups carrying out vandalism against public and private establishments and attacking law-enforcement forces and civilians, adding that the report also denounced the media campaign against the mission’s work and the exaggeration of what is happening in Syria systematically, with the report affirming that the French journalist was murdered by the so-called “Free Army militia.”

He explained that the report confirmed four points constituting the essence of the protocol and the Arab work plan which Syria adhered to, which include ceasing violence and the Syrian government’s commitment to that for its part, but the report criticized the protocol’s failure to deal with the issue of armed groups since violence cannot be stopped without dealing with them, adding that the report also confirmed that military aspects were drawn from cities and residential areas and refuted media allegations of the presence of tanks and aerial operations.

Al-Moallem noted that the report also mentioned the release of thousands of detainees and the amnesty decree issued by President Bashar al-Assad, in addition to mentioning that journalists were permitted to enter Syria and observed representatives of 36 media channels.

Syria carried out its obligations as per the Arab work plan and the protocol

Al-Moallem went on to affirm that Syria carried out its obligations as per the Arab work plan and the protocol, which was included in the report and didn’t please the people behind the plot, so they circumvented the report.

He also saluted the resilience of the Syrian people and their rallying around their leadership and national unity, lauding the sacrifices of civilian, military and law-enforcement forces.

In response to a question on whether the Arab decisions constitute an attempt to hijack the Syrian reform agenda, al-Moallem said “they never practiced democracy and aren’t used to it,” pointing out that a new constitution will be put to referendum in Syria soon, and that their countries don’t have a constitution as modern as the one being prepared in Syria.

He also pointed out that the upcoming conference on al-Baath Party will be a turning point and that an expanded government will be formed with the participation of a broad spectrum of the Syrian people including youth, in addition to free and honest parliamentary elections in which new parties will be represented in May.

“These democratic practices will make Syria a renewed country stronger than ever… If someone wishes to learn from it, we won’t begrudge them and we’re prepared to dedicate extra hours to tutor them,” al-Moallem said.

On whether the observers will continue their work, al-Moallem said that other than the decision issued by the ministerial council which Syria rejected, another decision was made to continue the mission and meet the requirements requested by al-Dabi, pointing out that Syria received a letter from the League’s Secretary General asking for the government’s approval of extending the mission for another month, adding that this issue is being studied and the response will be relayed to the Secretary General.

He pointed out that the request is being studied because Syria wants to know the mission’s role in terms of dealing with the issue of armed terrorists in some areas in Syria.

Regarding Saudi Arabia’s withdrawal of its observers and the meeting of its Foreign Minister with the head of Istanbul Council, al-Moallem said that this is their own businesses, adding “maybe they don’t want their citizens and the brothers in the observer mission to see the facts on the ground that don’t satisfy their plans”

The solution is Syrian emerging from the interests of the Syrian people and based on implementing the comprehensive reform program and national dialogue

On Syria’s vision of the solution after rejecting the ministerial council’s decision, al-Moallem said “the solution in Syria is not that which had been issued by the Arab League and which we categorically rejected…The solution is Syrian as it emerges from the interests of the Syrian people and it is based on implementing the comprehensive reform program announced by President Bashar al-Assad and on the national dialogue which Syria has called for as President al-Assad had announced that he is ready to start the dialogue since tomorrow.” “The Syrian Government should take the measures it sees as suitable with regard to the gunmen who are wreaking havoc in some areas,” he added.

Al-Moallem affirmed that the stance of the Syrian leadership towards what Syria is facing inside or outside it is firm and strong, and that Syria will deal firmly with the armed terrorist groups, saying “we realize the dimensions of the conspiracy and its stages and we’ll deal with this reality firmly… there is no other country in the world besieged and conspired upon by half the universe with the use of Arab pawns.”

On the Qatari role and why Syria hasn’t closed the Qatari Embassy in Damascus, al-Moallem said that the Qataris were the ones to withdraw their embassy, noting that the primary task of Syria’s Embassy in Doha is to handle the affairs of the Syrians working in Qatar whose numbers exceed 50,000.

Russian stance is warm, no-one can question the Russian-Syrian relations

Regarding the Russian stance on the current development, al-Moallem pointed out that he talked with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and felt that the Russian stance was warm, stressing that no-one can question the Russian-Syrian relations because of their historic components and roots, adding “Russia will not agree on the foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs and this is a red line.”

On relations with Iran, the Minister said that Syrian-Iranian relations are strong and deep-rooted for two reasons: one is Iran’s stance regarding the Palestinian issue, and the second is the fact that these relations serve the interests of the two nations, adding “we sensed Iran’s support to Syria during this crisis in a time when some Arabs are conspiring against us.”

As for the Turkish Foreign Minister’s recent statements regarding his government’s readiness to “disengage combatants,” al-Moallem said “Davutoglu’s statements are daily and we don’t have time to reply whenever he makes a statement…The stance of Erdogan’s Government is hostile, so what can we expect from them?”

On whether the Syria considers the Arab plan prepares for implementing the Yemeni model, al-Moallem simply said “we’re called the Syrian Arab Republic.”

On whether or not Syria received instructions of indications that the US Embassy will be closed, the Minister said “this is their business… we don’t take orders from the US State Department or anyone else.”

Regarding the presence of a US airplane carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, al-Moallem said that any military presence leads to escalation, noting that it isn’t expected of the US to support mitigation as it escalates matter everywhere, wondering why the US needs a carrier with its bases across the Arab Gulf countries.

On contradictions and the role of media in relaying what is happening in Syria objectively, al-Moallem stressed that journalists must be professional and possess conscience, saying “we face all kinds of media… what concerns us is objective media.”

The Minister noted that since the observer mission came to Syria, the number of army and law-enforcement martyrs has increased three folds as the armed groups exploited the presence of the mission, with al-Dabi himself acknowledging that some protestors used the observers as human shields.

Regarding the possibility of withdrawing the mission from Syria, particularly the observers from the Gulf Cooperation Council, al-Moallem said “this is their business if they’re afraid of seeing the reality of what is happening on the ground… the observer mission’s report is now an official document which won’t please some Arabs who are linked to a plot which is why they don’t want al-Dabi to be a man with a live conscience nor a professional who can’t be bought or sold. So, if they go to New York or anywhere else, this is their business as long as we’re not paying for their plane tickets.”

On whether there is an inclination towards quick solutions in some areas where armed groups’ activities have increased, al-Moallem said that it’s the duty of the Syrian government to deal with the phenomenon in a manner that protects citizens and stability, as for how the law-enforcement will carry this out, this matter is up to those who carry out planning and execution.

As for the Syrian government’s next step regarding observers, the Minister said that the mission is documenting what it sees and witnesses on the ground, and the government’s duty is expedite the resolution of these issues to protect the safety of its citizens and the security and stability of Syria.

Any sanctions affect the citizens, yet they don’t affect the political situation

Regarding the effects of the new economic sanctions on the political situation in Syria, al-Moallem said that any sanctions affect the citizens, yet they don’t affect the political situation, as the reform program has been announced within timetables by the highest political authority in Syria which is the President.

“These reforms will be implemented in the assigned time,” he affirmed, noting that more than half of Syria’s economic crisis and the suffering of the Syrian citizens is due to the economic sanctions imposed on it, despite that these sanctions are supposedly made out of keenness on democracy and the Syrian people’s interest.

“We don’t want the Arab solutions… we rejected the initiative and when the ministerial council decided to go the Security Council, we said that they abandoned the Arab League’s role, which is spate from the observers’ role because there’s a decision from the council requesting the extension of their mission for another month… unfortunately, they abandoned Arab solutions.”

Regarding the Gulf Cooperation Council’s intent to acknowledge the Istanbul Council al-Moallem said that they will study this matter if they acknowledge it and make a counter move, adding “unfortunately, colonialism didn’t leave any Arab country before leaving behind breakable glass houses.”

On the possibility of the Security Council supporting the Arab ministerial council’s decisions and increasing Syria’s political and economic isolation, al-Moallem said “going to the Security Council was expected… this is the third stage of their plan and they only have one stage left which is summoning foreign interference.”

As for internationalization, al-Moallem said that this issue is twofold; on one hand in terms of politics, no-one can impose options on the Syrian people, and the other hands and in terms of economy, economic sanctions cannot be internationalized in the Security Council according to information we have.

On whether there will be more openness to the media in the future, the Minister said that there will be more openness for a simple reason: if 100 journalists entered the country and half of them were objective, then this constitutes a win for Syria.

The security solution is a popular demand from the Syrian people

On whether or not a security solution will achieve results with the growing phenomenon of the so-called “Free Army” militia and how a national unity government can be formed alongside a security solution, al-Moallem said that the security solution was imposed by necessity which has become obvious with the existence of the armed militias of the so-called “Free Army” and other armed groups not affiliated to it that commit crimes, saying “the security solution is a popular demand from the Syrian people, yet it is not the only solution, as there are two other tracks: a political one in reforms, and an economic one to improve conditions and defeat the economic blockade.”

He went on to note that in terms of the political solution, the national opposition was invited to dialogue and participating in drawing the image of the future Syria, but some in the opposition make conditions and others have instructions from abroad to not participate in dialogue.

“The security track is imposed by necessity on the ground, but it’s not what we want to be prevalent,” al-Moallem added.

He affirmed that there’s an ongoing dialogue, stressing that the government must include the state and the millions of independent figures, particularly youths, along with the opposition that rejects foreign interference.

The Arab League is relying on the Security Council while we rely on our people

On whether Syria will accept the Arab League’s decisions if they were amended, al-Moallem said that President al-Assad preempted the decisions by announcing and expanded government, a new constitution which will be announced within days, and parliamentary elections, adding “the difference is that the League is relying on the Security Council while we rely on our people.”

As for Iraq and whether it will be pressured into not inviting Syria to the Arab Summit which will be held in it, al-Moallem said “the Arab League calls for the summit and Iraq implements. I can say that personally, I’m happy that the League decided to suspend our membership, because at least we will not become false witnesses to the decisions which will be passed by some of the Gulf states.”

H. Zain / R. al-Jazaeri / H. Sabbagh – SANA

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