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Syria Claims Refugee Crisis Was Invented

posted Oct 2, 2012, 3:01 AM by Syrian Transition
01 Oct 2012 (New York Times)  Syria’s foreign minister told the United Nations on Monday that the violence racking his country was entirely the fault of other nations supplying the armed opposition, that the refugee crisis was concocted by Syria’s enemies and that a dialogue on a political transition was still possible.

Even as the minister, Walid al-Moallem, was speaking on behalf of Syria at the annual opening debate of the General Assembly, the United Nations was condemning his government for not doing enough to reduce the violence that has left more than 20,000 people dead and thousands more wounded.

In an earlier meeting with Mr. Moallem, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed to the Syrian government “to show compassion to its own people,” according to a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesman.

The sharp tone of the statement was unusual for Mr. Ban. “The secretary general raised in the strongest terms the continued killings, massive destruction, human rights abuses, and aerial and artillery attacks committed by the government,” it said.

But Mr. Moallem used his 30-minute speech to blame France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States for inducing and supporting “terrorism in Syria with money, weapons and foreign fighters.”

In one of his more striking assertions, Mr. Moallem said the refugees who had fled Syria had been manipulated into leaving by Syria’s neighbors to create an artificial crisis so those neighbors could receive foreign aid. He appealed to refugees to return.

Nearly 300,000 Syrians have sought sanctuary in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and the United Nations refugee agency has called the outflow a major humanitarian problem that could destabilize the region.

Mr. Moallem said that Syria was a target of a plot to extend Western hegemony and the interests of Israel throughout the eastern Mediterranean region, adding that “the doors of Syria” are open for a dialogue that would lead to “a more pluralistic and democratic Syria.”

Syrian opposition leaders and the foreign governments supporting them say that such statements are negated by what they call President Bashar al-Assad’s increasingly ruthless campaign to crush the opposition, most recently in the northern city of Aleppo, the country’s commercial capital.