Syria's foreign minister addressed the United Nations General Assembly Monday morning, blaming armed groups and "the colonial hegemonic tendencies of some countries" for the miseries of his people.
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem appeared to sidestep any culpability on the part of the Syrian regime for the current civil war raging across Syria and spilling across borders into neighboring countries.
Instead, al-Moualem faulted opposition groups for continued bloodshed, and claimed that "my government is working hard to meet the basic needs of citizens who have been forced by the violence of armed groups to flee their homes."
The “bond is very strong” between the "policies of the state and the aspirations of the people,” al-Moualem declared.
In fact, the Syrian regime has been implicated in some of the worst violence of the 18-month-old crisis, including heavy aerial bombardments that have struck hospitals and residential buildings. The death toll from the months of violence has been estimated at over 30,000 people.
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Al-Moualem accused outside countries that have supported rebels fighting Assad's regime of stoking the violence, naming Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Libya among those that he alleged are funding, training or harboring armed rebels.
On the widely-reported flow of refugees out of Syria into neighboring countries, Al-Moualem said: “Some have thought to fabricate a refugee crisis.”
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The foreign minister also faulted the UN Security Council, accusing some of its members "of supporting 'terrorism' in the country, an attack clearly aimed at the US and its allies who are supporting the opposition," the Associated Press reported.
"Permanent members of the [UN] Security Council who have launched wars under the excuse of combating terrorism [are] now supporting terrorism in my country without any regard to United Nations resolutions," al-Moualem said, according to the BBC.
Al-Moualem also condemned calls by other countries for Assad to step down as disrespecting the democratic process, representing "blatant interference in the domestic affairs of Syria,” al-Moualem added.
Al-Moualem additionally noted what he termed "Israel’s expansionist interests," calling for the restoration of 1967 borders in the Golan Heights and for Israel to join in formal nuclear non-proliferation efforts.
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Watch Al-Moualem's full speech below: