In a speech before the United Nations General Assembly Monday, the foreign minister of Syria accused some members of the Security Council of ”supporting terrorism” in his strife-torn country.
Walid al-Moallem specifically named France, the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Libya as nations which were arming, financing and supporting the Syrian opposition.
“Syria has been confronted with organized terrorism for more than a year,” Muallem stated. “Arab and international monitors have confirmed presence of terrorist activity in Syria.”
He alleged that this terrorism, “which is externally supported, is accompanied by unprecedented media provocation based on igniting religious extremism sponsored by well-known states in the region that facilitate the flow of arms, money and fighters through the borders of some neighboring countries.”
He also called for foreign nations to quit interfering in Syria’s domestic affairs.
"We heard calls from this podium, and on other platforms, some calls from those who are ignorant of the facts or maybe ignoring them, or also from those who are shareholders in exacerbating them, that invites the president of the Syrian Arab Republic [Bashar al-Assad] to step down," he said.
"This is a blatant interference in the domestic affairs of Syria, and the unity of its people and its sovereignty."
Al-Moallem called for a political solution to create "a more pluralistic and democratic Syria” and invited the opposition to "work together to stop the shedding of Syrian blood."
A top Syrian opposition figure blasted the speech.
Radwan Ziadeh, co-spokesman for the Syrian National Council, told the Associated Press the foreign minister "is calling for dialogue while his air force is attacking civilians in each city. He is a liar representing the propaganda of the Assad regime.”
A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon said he asked al-Muallem to show more compassion for the people of Syria.
“[Ban] stressed that it was the Syrian people who were being killed every day and appealed to the government of Syria to show compassion to its own people,” the spokesman said.
“[Ban] raised in the strongest terms the continued killings, massive destruction, human rights abuses, and aerial and artillery attacks committed by the government. He expressed deep frustration that, after 19 months of repression and fighting, the situation was still getting worse.”
Since the uprising erupted in Syria in March 2011, at least 20,000 people have died and as many as 500,000 people have fled to neighboring countries as refugees.