In his speech to the high-level debate at the UN General Assembly on Monday, Fayssal Mekdad, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Syria, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to combat terrorism and aim to ‘restore security and stability’.
Addressing the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York, Foreign Affairs Minister Mekdad, started by speaking about the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After being held virtually last year due to the pandemic, this year’s debate features “hybrid” activities that include leaders speaking in person along with virtual participants.
“Some used the pandemic as a way to settle political scores and accuse other countries of creating the virus, while others selfishly ignored the needs of others, choosing to believe they were alone on this earth”, he said.
Declaring that sanctions have exacerbated the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in his and other heavily sanctioned countries, Mr. Mekdad said that “if COVID-19 would claim one life in the absence of so-called sanctions, it would claim so many more when they are in place”.
“Sanctions are bringing suffering and death in countries like Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen”, he added.
The threat of terrorism
Turning on to the threat of terrorism, Mr. Mekdad, acknowledging that Syria is one of the countries most affected by that scourge, confirmed that his country will continue the fight against it, and ensure that “State authority, security and stability are restored”.
“Those that continue to support and invest in terrorists are making a dangerous bet that is doomed to fail”, Mr. Mekdad said on the last day of the high-level week of the General Assembly.
Turning to Turkey, he said that “regime has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the territories of Syria it occupies”, and called for urgent action by the UN Security Council and the Secretariat, to bring them to an immediate end.
“Turkish and US forces are occupying Syrian territories under false pretexts and are looting the natural resources belonging to the Syrian people”, he added, calling for an end to the occupation.
Mr. Mekdad pointed to Syria’s ‘open doors’ for the safe and voluntary return of all refugees to their country, underlying that Syria is working to “rebuild and rehabilitate infrastructure and services in areas reclaimed from terrorists and by putting the necessary procedures in place to facilitate the return of people and meet their basic needs”.
“The scope of humanitarian interventions must be expanded to incorporate development assistance and early recovery and resilience projects, which would provide water, sanitation, health, medical, and housing services”, he said.
Mr. Mekdad called for an end to Israel’s war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories, and expressed Syria’s support and solidarity with Iran in “the face of the illegal and irresponsible US measures against it, especially following the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement”.
He concluded by stating that the world is “interconnected” and that “no country can serve its interests and ensure its security at the expense of the interests and security of other countries”.
Full statement here.