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Unilateral US sanctions crimes against humanity: Syria

Syria’s Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has denounced unilateral sanctions imposed by the US against the war-stricken country as “crimes against humanity", saying the Western sponsors of terrorism must pay the price for their atrocities against the Syrian nation.

He made the remarks on Saturday in an interview with Syria’s SANA news agency in Moscow, at the end of his official visit to Russia.

Asked about the US sanctions, Mekdad said, “Unilateral coercive measures against Syria are inhumane and can be classified as war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Over the past years, the US has been maintaining an illegal military presence on Syrian soil, collaborating with anti-Damascus militants and stealing the country’s crude oil resources.

It has slapped rounds of crippling sanctions on Syria, which has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. 

Parts of the restrictive measures have been imposed under the so-called Caesar Act, an American piece of legislation that alleges to support the Syrian people by protecting them against the Syrian administration’s way of governance.

The bans target almost all Syrian economic and trade activities, as well as the country’s government officials.

Elsewhere in his interview, Mekdad criticized the administration of outgoing US President Donald Trump for causing world-wide destruction.

“The Americans sabotaged the international organizations and the equations that have been built since the end of the Second World War,” he said. “The relations between the US and the countries of the world are not based on mutual consent and desire, but rather … US threats, whether by imposing unilateral coercive sanctions or through military pressure.”

Mekdad said if the new US administration wants to work for a safe world, far from threatening and pushing towards wars, it must abandon such policies and adopt an approach consistent with the UN Charter, the international cooperation principle and the sovereignty of independent countries.

The top Syrian diplomat further urged Western countries to correct their deadly approach towards the developing states and not to pursue their own interests through inhumane methods that violate international humanitarian law.

Syria has witnessed devastation at the hands of terrorist groups and on the instructions of their operators in the US, Western Europe and certain regional states, Mekdad said, adding the devastation is very significant and, therefore, these sides have to pay the price of their crimes against the Syrian people.

Commenting on the actions of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Mekdad said the body “not only works against Syria, but also works against Russia and it has become a politicized organization run by Western countries.”

Additionally, the Syrian foreign minister hailed strategic and historic ties with Russia, which has since 2015 been helping Syrian forces in their counter-terrorism battles across the country.

“The important thing for Syria and Russia is to boost their relations, and there is a desire for this as expressed by Presidents Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin,” he said.

Mekdad also stressed that the Syrian delegation had during its visit to Moscow discussed “economic, cultural and scientific cooperation” with Russian officials.

“I see a real development in those relations and Syrians will feel that in the upcoming weeks and months,” he pointed out.

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