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

    Multimedia US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora