By Alaa Swilam and and Suleiman al-Khalidi
CAIRO/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syria’s prime diplomat and long-time international minister Walid al-Moalem, a staunch defender of Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s bloody crackdown on peaceable protesters that sparked a decade previous battle, died on Monday, the federal government mentioned.
There have been no particulars on the reason for loss of life, however the 79-year previous had for years been sick with coronary heart issues.
Moalem, who was first appointed international minister in 2006 and likewise held the publish of deputy prime minister, held a succession of prime diplomatic posts, together with envoy to the USA and was concerned in unsuccessful negotiations with Israel within the 1990’s on a peace settlement.
“He was identified for his honourable patriotic positions,” the federal government mentioned in a press release, including he died at daybreak and could be buried afterward Monday in Damascus.
The veteran diplomat noticed his nation’s tilt additional in the direction of Iran and Russia, which have helped shore up Assad’s rule and allowed the authoritarian chief to regain many of the territory he as soon as misplaced to insurgents.
Moalem publicly defended Moscow and Shi’ite Iran’s rising army function, backed by its proxies in Syria, which many Syrian opponents of Assad labelled as an occupation and blamed for fuelling sectarian pressure in a majority Sunni nation.
“I’m able to be one among Hassan Nasrallahʹs troopers,” Moalem mentioned in August 2006, referring to the chief of the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah, which has lately despatched hundreds of its members to struggle alongside Assad’s forces.
Syria erupted into civil conflict almost a decade in the past after Assad in 2011 started a crackdown on protesters calling for an finish to his household’s rule.
Moalem accused the USA and others within the West of fuelling his nation’s unrest and labelled insurgents “terrorists” in a battle that has killed tons of of hundreds and led to the exodus of thousands and thousands of refugees.
The veteran diplomat’s final statements attacked the Caesar Act – the hardest U.S. sanctions but in opposition to Damascus which got here into power final June, saying they had been meant to starve Syrians. He vowed that his nation would get financial assist from Iran and Russia to melt its blow.
Washington says the aim of the brand new sanctions is to carry Damascus to account for conflict crimes and deter it from additional pursuing the conflict. The sanctions exempt humanitarian support.
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