Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem says the United States is using internationally-banned chemical weapons to invent a pretext for a military campaign against his conflict-plagued Arab country.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with English-language al-Hayat magazine, Muallem said it is not the first time that chemical attack claims have been used to justify an attack on Syria.
He noted that the Damascus government does not possess any chemical warfare, and that the so-called White Helmets aid group has on occasions staged mock chemical attacks to serve as proof that the Syrian government has conducted the assaults.
The top Syrian diplomat said the cession of foreign intervention in Syria’s domestic affairs will help the settlement of the Syrian conflict, stressing that intra-Syrian negotiations will produce a political solution to the ongoing crisis once such meddling is completely halted.
Muallem further noted that drafting a new Syrian constitution is in its early stages as special focus is being given on reaching an agreement on the formation of committee tasked with the job.
He emphasized that there is not a unified Syrian opposition, but rather a number of groups whose leaders are insisting on advancement of agendas of countries where they have taken refuge.
The opposition cannot take decisions independently, and its delegates cannot pursue their own desires and interests in peace talks with representatives from the Syrian government, Muallem highlighted.
The Syrian foreign minister then called on Syrian refugees displaced because of terrorism to return, and assign a high priority to the reconstruction of their homeland.
Muallem went on to say that Syria has relied on its strategic allies Russia and Iran concerning the reconstruction activities, adding that a number of friendly states like China, India, Malaysia, Brazil and South Africa have also expressed their desire to be part of the process.
The Syrian foreign minister concluded that the Arab League, formed in 1945, has lost some of its influence, underlining that Syria is not interfering in the internal affairs of any Arab state and has never played a role in the destruction of the critical infrastructure of any state.