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Walid al-Muallem: “There is no such thing as ‘moderate’ militants in the Arab state”

The Syrian foreign minister has slammed the US for making a distinction between the armed Takfiri groups fighting against the Damascus government, saying there is no such thing as “moderate” militants in the Arab state.

“For us in Syria, there is no such thing as moderate or non-moderate opposition. Whoever that takes up arms against the Syrian state is a terrorist,” Syria’s official news agency SANA quoted Walid al-Muallem as saying following his Wednesday meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Tehran.

Muallem’s comment came after the White House authorized using airstrikes to defend the so-called moderate militants trained by the US if they come under attack by government forces or other militant groups.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem-with Iranian Mohammad Javad Zarif

Earlier in the day, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said US aircraft and drones are arriving at Turkish air bases, adding that a so-called battle against ISIL will be launched soon.

Muallem further said Syria had been “contacted” by the US about new plans for backing the US-trained militants, saying Damascus opposes any uncoordinated military move inside its territory.

“The US contacted us … and said it was for fighting ISIL and not the Syrian army at all, and we said that we were with every effort seeking to fight ISIL,” said Muallem, adding, however, “That should be done through coordination and consultation with the Syrian government otherwise it would be a violation of the Syrian sovereignty.”

Muallem’s talks with Shamkhani

On the second day of his visit to Tehran, Muallem also met with Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani to review the ongoing efforts by Iran, Syria and Russia for reaching a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria.

Syria Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem (R) speaks during a meeting with Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani in Tehran on August 5, 2015. (IRNA photo)

During the meeting, Shamkhani hailed the Syrian government and nation for their four years of steadfastness in the face of terrorist groups, saying the Arab state should continue its efforts to liberate all militant-held areas and restore peace to the nation.

The Iranian official said the only way out of the conflict in Syria would be for various factions to engage in intra-Syrian dialogue in order to realize what he called the “national solidarity” in Syria.

Shamkhani further rejected as “unacceptable” any potential military intervention in Syria, saying such a move would merely undermine the Syrian sovereignty and fuels terrorism.

Muallem, for his part, reiterated the willingness of Damascus to engage in talks with those opposition members who are interested in maintaining Syria’s integrity.

The top Syrian diplomat further said that reaching a sustainable and permanent solution to the crisis in Syria requires a true battle against Takfiri groups and a change in the approach of certain countries which support terrorism.


R E L A T E D :


Iranian President affirms to al-Moallem Iran’s firm position in support of Syria



Iranian President Hassan Rouhani received on Wednesday Syrian Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem.

During the meeting, Minister al-Moallem relayed congratulations from the Syrian leadership to the Iranian leadership and people for the historic nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1.

The meeting also discussed the situation in the region, the achievements made by the Syrian Arab Army and the Lebanese resistance in their battle against terrorism, and means for bolstering the steadfastness of the Syrian Army.

President Rouhani affirmed Iran’s firm position in support of Syria in fighting terrorism and extremism, asserting Iran’s commitment to boosting relations with Syria in all fields and working together to achieve stability and security in the region and the world.

The Iranian President said the wrong interventions of some countries and the flow of terrorists from a number of countries are two main problems in continuing the crisis in Syria.

He appreciated the steadfastness of the Syrian people and their resistance against terrorism, affirming that combating terrorism, supporting friendly governments and consolidating security and stability are permanent principles adopted by Iran.

President Rouhani considered that the future of any country depends of the opinion of its people, adding “If the powers had stopped their intervention and terrorism had been eliminated, the Syrian people would overcome all interior problems.”

He affirmed that determination of Iran has always been represented by supporting people and government of Syria against terrorism, saying “we have no doubt terrorists will fail and be dismissed from the region.”

The Iranian President reiterated that solution to the crisis in Syria is not military, but through the political way only, adding that Iran will spare no effort and use its political power to treat problems and achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people.

Al-Moallem, for his part, briefed President Rouhani on the latest developments on the political and field levels in Syria, hailing Iran’s support to Syria.

He was optimistic Syria would witness better conditions than before as conspirators reached to the degree of frustration.

Al-Moallem also met Chairman of the Iranian Shura Council Ali Larijani and discussed with him the latest developments in Syria and counterterrorism efforts.

The Minister briefed Larijani on the latest developments on the ground in Syria, saying that the achievements of the Syrian army and people have instilled frustrations in terrorists and those who support them.

Al-Moallem asserted that the resistance axis is growing stronger and that terrorism is faltering before the strikes of the Syrian Arab Army, the popular resistance, and the Lebanese resistance.

He also stressed the need for combining efforts to combat international terrorism, noting that the states that sponsored, harbored, funded, and supported terrorism are now “being burned by its fires.”

For his part, Larijani asserted that Iran will continue to support the Syrian government and people, saying that some states are becoming aware of the mistakes they made and the destructive ramifications of their support for terrorism, asserting that these states must correct their course of action and stop supporting terrorism.

He also lauded the steadfastness of the Syrian leadership and people and saluted the sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army and the resistance in their battle against terrorists, asserting that Syria and the resistance will emerge victorious.

Earlier, during a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran, Minister al-Moallem reiterated that the priority in Syria is fighting terrorism, stressing that Damascus welcomes every effort in this regard provided that the Syria sovereignty is maintained.

Bilateral relations, the latest developments in the regional and international arenas and the efforts for combating terrorism were discussed during the meeting.

Al-Moallem reviewed the current events in Syria, affirming that “the priority for us in Syria is fighting terrorism and the Takfiri thinking, and various efforts should be made to dry out its financial sources and to pressure the countries backing and funding it in compliance with the UN Security Council’s relevant resolutions.”

He made it clear that Syria is going ahead with fighting terrorism until the entire Syrian territory gets rid of it.

“Syria is fighting terrorism on behalf of the world, and it welcomes any effort that is put in the framework of combating terrorism providing that the national sovereignty is respected,” said al-Moallem.

He added that Syria also welcomes any political initiative that is carried out in coordination with the Syrian government and preserves the national sovereignty without any foreign interference.

The Iranian Foreign Minister, for his part, renewed his country’s supportive stance toward Syria in fighting terrorism.

“We stand by the people and government in Syria and are working with all the friends in this regard,” said Zarif, stressing that the only solution to the crisis in Syria is the political one that is reached by the Syrian people without foreign interference.

He highlighted the need for continuing consultation and coordination between Tehran and Damascus to foster joint cooperation, particularly in the field of fighting terrorism.

In a statement to the reporters following the talks and in response to a question about the US’s announcement of its intention to provide air support to what it calls “moderate opposition” after a group of those whom the US allowed in Syria came under an attack by Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Moallem said “for us in Syria there is no such thing as moderate or non -moderate opposition. Whoever that takes up arms against the Syrian state is a terrorist.”

“The US contacted us before this group’s entry and said it was for fighting ISIS and not the Syrian army at all, and we said that we were with every effort seeking to fight ISIS, and that should be done through coordination and consultation with the Syrian government, otherwise it would be a violation of the Syrian sovereignty,” al-Moallem added.

Minister al-Moallem also discussed with Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani issues of mutual interest, particularly counterterrorism efforts.

The two sides asserted the need to continue coordination and consultations between Syria and Iran, with Shamkhani reiterating Iran’s commitment to continuing its support for Syria in its battle against terrorism.

The two sides underlined the need to continue coordination and consultations between Syria and Iran for their common interests.

During the meeting, al-Moallem briefed the Iranian side on the field developments in Syria and the achievements of the Syrian Army against terrorist organizations.

“Following up the diplomatic track to get through the current crisis is among the important choices, and the Syrian government has been in constant dialogue with “unarmed opposition” which is committed to the unity of the country and national sovereignty,” al-Moallem added.

Al-Moallem hailed Iran’s extensive support for the Syrian government and people, considering that reaching a permanent solution to the crisis and peace and security is contingent on countries which are sponsoring terrorism changing their behavior and on genuinely combating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) away from media propaganda.

For his part, Shamkhani reiterated Iran’s commitment to continue its support for Syria in its battle against terrorism, affirming that the way to resolve the crisis requires immense efforts to regain areas under terrorists’ control and restore security and stability to citizens, as well as continuing Syrian-Syrian dialogue to reach national accord.

“Any military interference by foreign countries in Syria is rejected and will lead to weakening the state institutions that the Syrian people support, aggravate the crisis and cause terrorism to spread wider,” he added.

Shamkhani noted that the change in viewpoints on Syria and the recognition of the necessity of embracing political means is an indicator of the strength of Syria and its allies and an evidence of the principled stances in respecting the will of the people and democracy.

He called for promoting dialogue and regional cooperation to remove factors behind disorder and lack of security and stability, adding that the role of region’s countries is to prepare ground for removing the basic threat to the region, which is the Zionist entity.


R E L A T E D :

Lavrov renews Russia’s support to Syrian people and government ~ Putin warns Turkey against supporting ISIL terrorists in Syria



Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated his country’s support to the Syrian government and people,calling for immediate stop of the foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs.


The non-coordination of the international alliance against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization with the Syrian government is a flagrant violation of the Syrian sovereignty which could not lead to the desired outcomes without the engagement of the Syrian army in the battle, Lavrov said in a joint press conference with his Qatari counterpart in Doha on Monday.

Lavrov pointed out that his talks with his Qatari counterpart dealt with the situation in Syria, Yemen, Libya, the Palestinian issue and the threats posed to the Middle East.

He indicated that the tripartite meeting which brought him together with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, touched upon means of finding a solution to the crisis in Syria and the UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura’s initiatives connected to the implementation of the
agreement reached in Geneva Conference on 2012.

On the US plans to protect what is called the moderate opposition in Syria, Lavrov said we discussed this issue with the Kerry as the US informed us upon the formation of the international alliance to fight ISIS organization in Syria and Iraq, but the US has got the approval of the Iraqi government and it did not got the approval of the Syrian government and it did not want to coordinate with Syria.. thus those operations constitute a violation of the sovereignty of the Syrian state.

Those military operations could not help ending ISIS terrorist organization; therefore the entrance of the Syrian Army and all those who fight to defend Syria into the battle is inevitable, Lavrov clarified.

During his press conference with Kerry and al- Jubeir, Lavrov called for immediate stop of any foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs, warning Washington against the repercussions of protecting the gunmen on the efforts of combating terrorism.

Showing Russia’s serious concern over the continuity of the crisis in Syria and the humanitarian catastrophe in this country, the Russian Minister said that the US latest statements on offering air coverage for some armed factions, Washington had trained, would have Counterproductive as it will hinder fighting the terrorists in the region.

Illustrating Moscow’s stance towards finding a political solution to the crisis in Syria in the light of the terrorist threats posed by ISIS terrorist acts, Lavrov confirmed that Russia is offering technical military support to the Syrian government in its fight against the danger of ISIS organization, as well as it offers technical military support to the Iraqi government for combating this organization, asserting that Russia believes that without this support ISIS would have extended hundreds of thousands square kilometers.

He reiterated that the danger of ISIS organization constitutes the biggest threat to the region, expressing hope over the possibility of achieving a progress in the political process in Syria as well as in the field of the formation of a strong front for facing the danger of terrorism in the Middle East.

He stressed that the consultations on the formation of a front in the face of terrorism include a number of countries, among them Iran, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan and not limited to Russia, the US and Saudi Arabia.

He hailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initiative of last June on the formation of a front encompassing the neighboring countries of Syria to eliminate terrorism and at the same time work for carrying out the political process according to Geneva agreements.

Lavrov pointed out that the essence of the Russian proposal on the formation of a wide-scale anti-terrorism front, based on an acceptable international law, aims at setting a barrier in the face of the terrorists in Syria, Iraq and other countries in the region and ensuring all required circumstances for a successful solution to the political, economic and humanitarian issues.


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