BEIRUT

Middle East

Syrian FM blames West for suffering of his people

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem (centre R) meets U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos (centre L) in Damascus December 15, 2012, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency (SANA). A portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is seen on the wall. REUTERS/Sana

BEIRUT: Syria's foreign minister has blamed the suffering of his country's people on U.S. and European sanctions imposed on his country.

Walid al-Moallem has called on the United Nations to condemn these sanctions and work toward lifting them.

Moallem made his comments Saturday during a meeting in the capital, Damascus, with U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos who is on a one-day visit to Syria.

The US and EU have imposed a wave of sanctions to punish President Bashar Assad's regime for its crackdown against protesters calling for democratic reforms. The protests have morphed into a civil war that has left more than 40,000 dead.

The current sanctions include a freeze on the assets of Assad and other Syrian government leaders, along with an embargo on the oil and arms trades.

 

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