Syria: US actually bans food and talks of humanitarian issues

Syria: US actually bans food and talks of humanitarian issues
Sun Feb 2, 2014 16:59:44

The Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem says they have denied an offer for direct talks from American officials, while strongly criticizing US double standards on the war which the White House is supporting in Syria.

On his way back to Syria, Muallem was asked why the Damascus delegation did not speak directly with the US without intermediaries from the opposition delegation.

“Frankly, the Americans have asked for that in Montruex and I refused unless Kerry apologizes for the speech he made in the conference,” Walid Muallem replied according to the state media that interviewed him on board a plane bound for Damascus.

Syria's foreign minister was apparently referring to the opening remarks of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech made in Montreux, Switzerland on January 22, who said that President Bashar Assad lost all legitimacy and cannot be a part of any transitional government.

“There is no way, not possible in the imagination, that the man who has led the brutal response to his own people could regain legitimacy to govern,” Kerry said in that speech.

Walid Muallem rebuffed him at the time, saying no outside force had the right to “withdraw legitimacy” from the president or government except for the people of the country.

The US officials however denied seeking direct negotiation with the Syrian delegation.

“At no point did the United States offer to negotiate directly with the Syrian regime,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, though clarifying that the US indeed offered to connect with Syrian officials “on a staff level” through the United Nations and Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi.

The peace talks ended in Geneva on Friday with no concrete results that would stop the deadly fighting in Syria.

The government and opposition were unable to bridge their differences on ceasefires, humanitarian corridors or the question of a transitional governing body.

In a security conference in Munich, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he urged Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry “to use their influence to ensure the talks proceed as scheduled on February 10.”

Lavrov insisted that “Russia can do nothing alone” as he asked the US to apply their influence on the Syrian opposition.

Muallem, meanwhile, warned the opposition will eventually suffer a “reality shock” unless they abandon their “illusions” and drop unrealistic demands.

The government delegation has sought to focus the discussions on brutal acts of terrorism but the opposition delegation refused to sign a declaration condemning such activity in Syria.

“This rejection is a smirch on the forehead of the coalition's delegation, and as I said yesterday that any person in the world who suffered from terrorism would adopt this draft statement,” Muallem said, adding that the foreign-based coalition who “live in 5-star hotels” knowing nothing about the Syrian reality.

The Syrian foreign minister also lashed out against the “unjust” international community that impose sanctions on a war-torn country.

“It is an ‘international community’ that adopts double standards policy and mostly dominated by the US… they dominate the UN Security Council and the UN,” Muallem said.

Muallem questioned how could the West want to be involved in Geneva dialogue and at the same time “impose sanctions on the Syrian people and children?”

He asked European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton to explain how can the West put a ban on food products yet at the same time discuss the issue of humanitarian aid shipments.

The foreign minister concluded by saying that in the negation process, Syria will refuse anything that contradicts the constitution.

“This constitution was reached by a referendum and no one can reach or even think that the presidency is a topic of discussion.”


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