Syria rejects foreign intervention: FM

Photo: Syria rejects foreign intervention: FM / Arab World

Syria totally rejects any foreign intervention in its internal affairs, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem told a media conference in Damascus Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

The minister also said that the European Union's reaction to President Bashar al-Assad's speech on Monday showed it wanted to " plant strife and chaos" in the country.

He dismissed European sanctions on his country, saying "we will forget Europe is on the map."

Al-Muallem also denied accusations that Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iran are providing military or logistics support against protestors across the country.

He further called on Turkey to reconsider its response to al- Assad's speech, saying that Syria wants best relations with its neighbor.

"We are keen on maintaining good relations with Turkey with which we share a common border of 850 km," Al-Muallem told a media conference.

"We don't want to wipe away years of efforts to establish privileged ties," he added.

"I wish (Turkey) would reconsider its position," he said.

His remarks came as Ankara has distanced itself from Damascus over the latter's crackdown against pro-democracy protest that has threatened the Syrian regime.

Al-Muallem stressed that "all Syrians" are welcome to take part in the national dialogue mentioned by al-Assad in a speech on Monday and said that serious reforms would take place "within weeks."

He vowed that Syria would present "an unprecedented example of democracy" in the country within three months.

"There will be social justice, equality before the law and accountability," he said.

Al-Muallem also said that French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe's statements about Syria recalled the atmosphere of the old colonial era and its high commissioners.

He also urged France to stop practicing colonial policies under the curtain of human rights.

Al-Muallem went on to say that the killing of some security personnel indicates that militant group al-Qaida might be behind some of the violence in the country.

"I cannot hide the fact that some of the practices that we have seen in the killings of security personnel give an indication that these acts were carried out by al-Qaida," he said.

Syria has been in unrest for more than three months after the anti-government demonstrations started in the southern province of Daraa. The protests have spread to several other Syrian cities, leading to deaths of both protesters and policemen.

Al-Assad, facing mounting international pressure and wider street protests against his rule despite a military crackdown that has killed, according to rights groups, more than 1,300 people, promised in his Monday's speech reforms within months.

But protesters and world leaders dismissed his pledges as inadequate and did not meet popular demands for sweeping political reform.

The Syrian government has repeatedly blamed the unrest on foreign infiltrators and terrorist groups.

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