by RACHAEL BOOTHROYD | 11 October, 2011
CORO (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Representatives from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) vowed to campaign for a “peaceful and diplomatic” solution to the Syrian conflict yesterday, following a meeting with the Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus.
Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Nicolas Maduro was joined by his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, and other delegates from Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador during the diplomatic visit, which was convened in order to “reject any attempts at an invasion or political destabilisation” by NATO countries against Syria.
“We are in no doubt that imperialism and Western powers want to take advantage of Syria’s internal problems, in order to conspire against, do damage to and destroy Syria,” said Maduro.
Likewise, Cuban minister Rodriguez expressed his support for the Syrian people’s “right to self-determination, free from any intervention or foreign interference”.
“Cuba, as part of ALBA, feels the need to defend international law and to urge the (UN) Security Council to comply with its mandate and to insist that the UN Assembly and the countries of the Non-Aligned Movement support the Syrian people,” continued the Cuban diplomat, who also expressed his concern for the lack of objective information being relayed to the global public through the private media.
Revolts against the Syrian government began earlier this year in March, when citizens took to the streets demanding reform from the national government. Although Western media reports contend that the Al-Assad administration has been repressing pro-democracy advocates, the Syrian government maintains that it has been defending itself against the violent attacks of an armed “fringe” group.
During the meeting, President Al-Assad explained to the delegates that the government was open to dialogue with the opposition forces and that it was undertaking political reform in order to address the conflict. ALBA delegates also met separately with Syrian Foreign Relations Minister, Walid Al-Moallem, who thanked the ALBA representatives for their visit.
“The particular timing of the delegation’s visit and their arrival from outside (of Syria) reflects the magnitude of their solidarity,” said the Syrian minister.
The ALBA representatives’ meeting with Al-Assad comes as the European Union applauded the efforts of the Syrian opposition, who formed the Syrian National Council (SNC) earlier last week in Istanbul. The EU described the move as a “positive step” but refrained from recognising the opposition front as the legitimate government of Syria.
“We are not at the stage of recognition…but I believe we have to get to know them better and get to know their intentions,” said French Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, about the newly-formed SNC.
Since its formation in 2004, the ALBA has consistently maintained a non-interventionist stance with regards to foreign policy and was particularly critical of NATO’s recent intervention in Libya. Following the organisation’s 6th Political Council meeting last month in Caracas, ALBA issued an official statement warning of its concern that NATO countries planned to repeat the Libyan experience in Syria.
Maduro affirmed that ALBA countries “would not stand idly by” whilst Syrian internal affairs were threatened.
“We are going to support it in all of the international organisations, starting with the UN. The UN cannot be an instrument of war for imperialist countries or Zionism,” concluded the minister.
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