Walid al-Moallem: “Syria supports any international effort to combat terrorism as long as it preserves civilians’ lives and sovereignty”
New York – 29/09/2014 – Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem, delivered a speech on Monday at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in which he affirmed that Syria supports any international effort to combat terrorism as long as it fully preserves civilians’ lives and national sovereignty and is carried out according to international accords.
Following is the full text of the speech and 2 videos.
H. E. Sam Kutesa,
President of the General Assembly,
I would like to congratulate you and your friendly country, Uganda, on your election as President of the General Assembly at its current session, and to wish you success in leading the work this session for the enhancement of the important and neutral role of the President of the General Assembly. I would like to thank your predecessor, Mr. John Ashe for his presidency of the previous session.
Many events and significant transformations have taken place since I stood hare last year. Those events and transformations surprised many of the countries present here with us, but they didn’t surprise us, because we have been, over the past three and a half years, warning and reiterating our warning in order to avoid what we have come to now.
Speeches from this platform were about economic and political crises that we have been waiting for the international community to solve them, but, maybe speaking about these issues now is no longer a priority. What we are witnessing for few months is much more dangerous than all the political and economic crises that have happened in the world.
We have spoken on more than one occasion and on more than one international platform about the grave danger of the terrorism striking Syria. We said that this terrorism will not be confined within the borders of my country because terrorism recognizes no boundaries. This extremist ideology does not acknowledge anything but itself, and does not recognize anything but slaughter, murder and torture. You are witnessing today what the ISIS, the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world at all in terms of funding and brutality, is doing to Syrians and Iraqis of all spectra and religions. This terrorist organization is enslaving women, raping them and selling them in slave markets; it is cutting heads and limbs, and it is teaching children slaughter and murder, besides destroying historical and cultural monuments, as well as Islamic and Christian Symbols.
All of this is happening before the entire world and the countries that have always said they are fighting terrorism. Furthermore, some of them have tasted the scourge of terror.
Today, I stand here to ask the following: is it not due time, ladies and gentlemen, for all of us to stand as one in the face of this serious menace of terrorist takfiri ideology worldwide? Has not the moment of truth arrived for us all to admit that ISIS, Al-Nusrah Front and then rest of the Al-Qaeda affiliates, will not be limited within the borders of Syria and Iraq, but will spread to every spot it can reach, starting with Europe and America? Should we not learn the lesson from what happened in previous years and bring together full international efforts to stand in the face of those organizations? Those organizations, themselves, rallied extremists from all corners of the earth and brought them to one spot to train and arm them, and later to re-disseminate their ideology and terrorism through those extremists back to wherever they originated from.
Someone might say that, recently, a resolution under Chapter VII was passed unanimously to stop the expansion of this, and other, terrorist organizations, and to eliminate them.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is true that to arrive late is better than never. Indeed, this UN resolution, adopted on 15/08/2014, came too late, but the question asked here is whether everyone is serious and resolute about its implementation? But since its adoption, we have not seen any serious move to implement this resolution. Furthermore, we have not felt any real sense of the danger to work on its basis on the part of the regional states that were and are still providing all kinds of support to these terrorist organizations. On the contrary, what we see on the part of the US administration is a double standard policy and alliances to score certain political agendas, particularly through supporting with money, weapons and training of groups they call moderate. This is a real recipe for the increase of violence and terrorism, shedding of Syrian blood, prolonging of the Syrian crisis and demolishing of the political solution at its basis. This behavior creates a fertile ground for the growth of these terrorist groups that commit the most heinous crimes on the Syrian territory, which requires all of us to seriously and effectively address and eradicate terrorism, and re-establish security and stability in Syria and the region.
Today, the enslaved women are looking forward to us to see what we will do for them, their sisters and their children. The sons and daughters of the victims beheaded by ISIS are waiting for our actions, and for our reaction in the face of the atrocities committed daily by this terrorist organization, “Al-Nusrah Front” and others.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Combating terrorism cannot be done through unimplemented UN resolutions. Intentions here no longer have a place. Fighting terrorism is achievable through actual implementation of resolutions, and it is certainly possible through military strikes. But most importantly, to do so through stopping states that arm, support, train, fund and smuggle those terrorist groups. We have also to drain the resources of terrorism. Striking terrorism militarily while some states are continuing their support of terrorist groups, this will create a whirlpool of which the international community will not exit in decades.
Military strikes should coincide with the implementation of Security Council resolution Number 2178 adopted on September 24th, 2014 under Chapter VII. We have also to put pressure on countries that render all multifaceted support to these terrorist organizations; these countries are well known to all of us. Most importantly, to pressurize those countries that exported and are still exporting extremist and takfiri ideology that poses a grave danger to international peace and security. The ISIS is an ideology metamorphosed into an organization supported, armed and trained in order to be unleashed like a monster against Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Let us together stop this ideology and its exporters, let us, simultaneously, exert pressure on the countries that joined the coalition led by the United States to stop their support of armed terrorist groups. Only then combating terrorism militarily becomes viable. Otherwise, our presence here will not amount to the level of tears of the captives, women and children, who are victims of the ISIS, and Al-Nusrah Front and others.
Once again, the Syrian Arab Republic reiterates that it stands with any international effort aimed at fighting and combating terrorism, and stresses that this must be done in full respect of the lives of innocent civilians and within the frame of full respect of national sovereignty, and in conformity with international conventions
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is due time to pool all our efforts against this terrorism, since imminent danger is surrounding everyone and no country is immune to it. My country was and it is still firm in its position that was announced in the eighties of the last century, regarding fighting terrorism, before this terrorism goes rampant as it is currently. Mr. President, we, in Syria, respect our commitments and honor our promises and pledges. This was what we confirmed on more than one occasion, particularly since the beginning of the crisis in Syria.
Syria agreed unconditionally to attend Geneva 2 Conference, and participated in its deliberations with an open mind, although we were convinced that the solution of the crisis should be a Syrian one taking place on Syrian territory. However, and as a goodwill gesture, and to stop bloodshed of Syrians’ blood, we went to Geneva only to find a delegation that does not negotiate on behalf of Syrians. Originally, that delegation has no influence on the ground in Syria and neither popularity nor legitimacy among the Syrian people. It was a delegation negotiating with the Syrian government while following the orders of its western masters. A delegation that does not believe in combating terrorism or confronting it. Furthermore, it was a delegation that does not respect Syria’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity. A delegation that verbally refuses to ask terrorist groups to end their terrorism. We know that this opposition would not even be able to pressurize anyone, neither the armed groups nor any Syrian faction on the ground.
We went to Geneva with a priority based on combating terrorism because we believed, and continue to believe, that we cannot start any political solution while terrorism is still rampant in Syria. There were some who opposed us in Geneva in recognizing that combating terrorism is a priority, although it is a paramount part of Geneva Declaration provisions, but the delegation of the so-called “Coalition” continued to reject any point tackling or renouncing terrorism. Now, we all see the international community adopting our perspective that fighting terrorism tops all priorities, and that nothing at all could be done as long as terrorism is brutally striking against everything that comes in its way and as long as those terrorists will return to the countries where its members came from.
Once again, we emphasize that we are ready, and even are striving, for a political solution in Syria and in dialogue with all honorable national opposition members opposing terrorism in Syria, and among Syrians themselves and on Syrian territory.
The presidential elections, that took place before the sight of the world, put everyone before their responsibilities. The will of the Syrians is above all those who tried to suppress it for more than three years now, and it was manifested when Syrians inside and outside Syria said their word for the whole universe to hear.
Now, after the presidential elections, we would like to tell everyone who wants and looks forward to a political solution in Syria that they must firstly respect the Syrian people’s will, which was manifested explicitly, clearly, strongly and most loudly. They chose their President, for the first time in Syria’s modern history, in multi-party elections, with the international monitors from several countries that witnessed the integrity, transparency and the enthusiasm of the people to participate in these elections.
Mr. President, I would like to emphasize that the Syrian people has made its choice, and those who want to speak on behalf of the people’s must, first, be representatives of the people, and, secondly, they should respect the will of the Syrian people and its decisions.
Therefore, any dialogue must be based on foundations that should respect the will of the Syrian people and its decision. Accordingly, we are open to a political solution in Syria, with a real opposition that seeks the prosperity, stability and security of Syria, an opposition that does not depend on the outside and does not speak on behalf of the outside. An opposition that has an impact on the Syrian territory, and has deep roots inside Syria, not in hotels and Western capitals. A national opposition that upholds fighting terrorism as its priority, as well as, an opposition that encourages the ongoing local reconciliations, paving the way for the success of the political solution.
The continuation of terrorist attacks in Syria increase the humanitarian needs in many of the basic areas, the inhuman sanctions, imposed by the European Union and the United States, aggravated the living conditions of Syrian civilians. In collaboration with the United Nations and its humanitarian agencies, and within the framework of humanitarian response plans agreed upon them with the Syrian government, my government is working to meet the basic needs of citizens, especially those forced by the terrorist acts to flee their homes. We should note that a great number of our people were forced to resort to some neighboring countries, and regrettably, some of those countries put the displaced Syrian in military training camps, or in what resembles places of detention. I stress, from this platform, that the Syrian state guarantees for those citizens who are willing, the safe return and decent life away from the inhuman conditions they are suffering in those camps. I would like to assure Syria’s readiness to exert all efforts to deliver aid from international organizations to all Syrian citizens without any discrimination wherever they are, and within the framework of respecting the national sovereignty.
The Syrian Arab Republic confirms its adherence to the full restoration of the occupied Syrian Golan until the line of June 4th, 1967. It also emphasizes its rejection of all actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, to change its natural, geographical and demographic characteristics, in clear violation of relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 497 of 1981 and 465 of 1980. Syria confirms, also, that the Palestinian issue is the central issue of the Syrian people, which supports the inalienable and legitimate rights of the brotherly Palestinian people, particularly, the right to return and self-determination, and to establish its independent state on its land, with Jerusalem as its capital.
Last September, Syria accepted the initiative of the President of the Russian Federation, H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin, and joined the Convention of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based on the need to establish in the Middle East a free zone of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction. It also wanted to prove to the whole world its commitment to stand against any use of chemical weapons.
Syria fulfilled its obligations resulting from its accession to the Convention, and completed its commitments despite the prevailing difficult situation. Were it not for the Syrian cooperation with the UN-OPCW Joint Mission, it would have not been possible to complete the tasks of the Mission. The Special Coordinator of the Mission, Ms. Sigrid Kagg, expressed her happiness and gratitude for the fruitful and constructive cooperation of the Syrian Government, which led to the completion of the unprecedented work.
Syria is committed to the full implementation of the provisions of the Convention as a state party, and within the frame of the OPCW. The big question that remains is whether those who are supplying the terrorists with this, and other types of weapons, will stop their actions and abide by international law, in particular the Convention of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Security Council resolutions related to terrorism?
Syria stresses that establishing a zone free from all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East 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 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). At the same time, we emphasize the right of all countries to acquire and develop nuclear technology for peaceful uses.
Imposing unethical unilateral coercive economic measures by the United States and the European Union contradicts the rules of international law and the principles of free trade. On this basis, we call for the lifting of the blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for decades, as we renew our call to lift and stop all the unilateral coercive measures imposed on Syria and the peoples of other countries such as Iran, DPRK, Venezuela and Belarus.
Finally, we look forward to the United Nations to be able to achieve the aspirations of our peoples to live in dignity, development and food self-sufficiency, far away from all forms of terrorism, tension and confrontation, in implementation of the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the safeguarding of the sovereignty of states and their equality in rights and obligations. Also we believe that priority should be given to work on the concerted efforts of the international community to combat the terrorism of the ISIS and Al-Nusrah Front, and other al-Qaeda affiliates, and drain its resources in order for security and stability to prevail in our region and the world.