Syrian civil war could end in weeks - Foreign Minister
RT:Now that Russia and the United States have
determined what they want to come out of the Security Council,
with what sentiment will your delegation be departing from New
York? Will it be a sense of diplomatic success, relief?
Walid Muallem: We found that this session of the UN General Assembly is different than the previous one. The leaders have started to understand better what is going on in Syria, that we are fighting a terrorist group related to Al-Qaeda. We are receiving fighters from 83 countries all over the world. Second, they start to speak about the political solution after we joined the treaty of chemical weapons.
And here I want to thank President Putin for his initiative. We have discussed with Minister Lavrov this morning the project of Security Council resolution under Chapter 6 concerning Syria. First it thickens the procedures of how to get rid of these chemical arms. Second they spoke in the draft about Geneva 2. And we believe always that the political solution through the dialogue between Syrians is the way to solve the issue in Syria.
RT:Considering the violence on the ground, you believe that a political solution is still viable?
WM: Many countries speak about supporting a political solution. This is important but this means that they need to be committed to stop their financing, their arming of the terrorist groups. Especially the neighboring countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In this way if they are a friend of doing this, I assure you this is the starter of the success of Geneva 2.
RT:Under the existing circumstances of war on the ground, how much is the government in control of the chemical arsenal?
WM: We control the chemical arsenal but we are worried that the terrorist groups also have chemical weapons and they want to use it to show the West that Syria is not committed to its commitments. This is our point of worry. Otherwise if the West controls these groups, because they have relations with them, in this case I assure you, this process will be successful.
RT:During this disarmament process, what is your assessment as to rebel’s capability to lay their hands on the weapons throughout the process that is now to come?
WM: If you mean that they can obtaincontrol of government weapons - this is very difficult but the problem is not this. The problem is that they are receiving this type of weapons from the neighboring countries and from the West.
RT:Describe to us the decision to hand over the strategic weapons? What lead to this choice? How much of an influence was the Western threat of strikes? And was it something that the government realized that they would have to do eventually or did it occur when the threats started happening?
WM: It is not related to the threat more than it is a free sovereign Syrian government decision. We are adopting this decision after consultation with Russia. And we are convinced that this Russian initiative at the end is a good initiative to open the door for political solution.
RT:When Syrian hands over its chemical weapons, do you think there is still a possibility of a threat from the West?
WM: Always the threat from the West is remaining but before they are using this threat indirectly through supporting the armed group, the terrorist group. But we take into our account that any country which is not yielding to the American pressure or yielding to the American will is under threat.
RT:Why do you think there is so much doubt in the West that the Syrian government will comply with what has been agreed in handing over its weapons?
WM: Because this is part of their plan, the anti-Syrian plan. Even before we started to execute our obligation, they started to put doubts. This is part of the formula to attack Syria.
RT:If this anti-Syria plan is coming from the West, why do you think this agreement was feasible between Russia and the US to reach the agreement on chemical weapons and also what we’re now expecting to come out of the Security Council?
WM: Now it is the international will after the Security Council and the Americans are a very essential part of it. But still we need to take into account that the Americans are changing their mood, changing their position. But for that the role of Russia to bring with them the Americans and the Security Council – it is a very wise thing.
RT:What is going on in the village of Maloula and the attack on Christians? Are the people being helped by the government?
WM: We are against any discrimination based on religion or origin between the Syrian people. This terrorist group, they are trying to find ways and means to separate the Syrian people through threatening Christians. They are doing massacres against these Christians but we are proud to see the Christian part of our society and our army is defending them and Maloula today is under the control of the Syrian army.
RT:What is your assessment of the timeframe to the possibility of ending the conflict?
WM: I’m sorry I cannot tell you the timeline, but I tell you that as long the US, Europe and some Gulf countries are supporting the terrorist group, the crisis will continue. If they are willing for a political solution and refrain from supporting this group, I assure you it will end in a few weeks.