News / Middle East

Syria: 'Don't Prejudge Us' on Chemical Weapons

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem speaks during a news conference in Damascus, Syria, Aug. 27, 2013.
Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem speaks during a news conference in Damascus, Syria, Aug. 27, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has denied again that his government used chemical weapons and he insists that Damascus is cooperating completely with a U.N. investigation team. Members of that U.N. team are awaiting permission to visit a new site, after visiting Madhamiya, a suburb of the capital, on Monday.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem told journalists that he had a "friendly" 10-minute conversation by telephone Monday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, but he declined to give any details.

Muallem said on Tuesday that Damascus is cooperating fully with the U.N. inspectors and he said that Western nations are presuming Syria's guilt even before the investigation is complete.

Muallem said the allegations that government forces used chemical weapons in Damascus last week are not true. He contends the chemical-weapons accusations are a “pretext” - a false charge circulated by outside powers that want to “invade Damascus ... and then go on to attack Iran.”

The Syrian foreign minister said the U.S. and its allies are pressuring the U.N. team to conclude that Syria carried out last week's devastating attack on civilians. He added the Western powers "talk about international law while they break it themselves."

Britain has accused Damascus of “hiding evidence” from the U.N. inspectors, Muallem said, but that is “impossible... since the evidence lies in areas controlled by [rebel forces].”

Suspected chemical weapon attack sites in DamascusSuspected chemical weapon attack sites in Damascus
x
Suspected chemical weapon attack sites in Damascus
Suspected chemical weapon attack sites in Damascus
Muallem said Syria will “defend itself with everything at its disposition,” if necessary, and that his government expects allies Russia and Iran will “not let Damascus down.”

In Cairo, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said the chemical-weapons attack was "an awful and ugly crime" that must be punished as an "international violation of human rights."

Arab states meeting on the crisis in Syria voted to condemn President Bashar al-Assad's government over the chemical-weapons incident.

In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Ali Arakji said his government “warns [Western states] strongly against any attack on Syria,” because that would “have awful repercussions on the entire region and would not be confined to Syria.”

The U.N. Undersecretary-general for political affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, is due to confer by Wednesday with top Iranian leaders.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Igor from: Russia
August 28, 2013 1:47 AM
who are trying to blame Syrian government for the chemical attack without any evidence? The USA and its allies. The USA was to blame for the death of thousands of innocent people in Vietnam with a chemical called "Orange Agent" but it refused to call it a kind of chemical weapon. The evidence is very clear and people in the world know that crime very well. Why the UN still let the USA get away with it so easily? it is compeletely unfair.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More