Syria 'ready to confront the whole world' over chemical weapons allegations
Syrian foreign minister Walid Moallem. (Image via BBC)
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Syria said Tuesday that it was prepared to "confront the whole world" in the face of threats of western military action that have followed allegations of the regime using chemical agents to kill over a thousand Syrian citizens.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem has said he rejects "utterly and completely" that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons, according to BBC news reports.
He was speaking in Damascus after the US said there was "undeniable" proof of a chemical attack.
"They said the Syrian forces were the ones who carried out his attack. I deny this utterly and completely to [US Secretary of State John] Kerry," he said.
Moallem said that the West was using the chemical weapons argument as a "pretext" under which to launch a military campaign against Syria, which will ultimately serve the interests of both Israel and the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, an active faction of the Syrian opposition.
"If this military campaign is meant to morally undermine our people, I believe they are mistaken," Moallem said. "The people of Syria are united together with their armed forces and leadership. This has allowed us to endure. We are prepared to confront the whole world."
Regarding the UN chemical weapons inspectors currently in Syria, Moallem said the government being transparent and open in their dealings with the team. He said the UN unit, which was attacked by sniper fire on Monday, would resume their investigations on Wednesday. He blamed rebels for the delay in proceedings and the attack.
"If they falsely believe that the military strike being planned will undermine our military capabilities currently in eastern Ghouta, I confirm that it will not at all," the minister said.
The Syrian opposition say a nerve gas attack in eastern Ghouta last week killed over 1,300. A UN chemical weapons inspection team, already in the Damascus investigating other claims of chemical weapons, was granted access by the Syrian government to visit the sites allegedly affected by last weeks attacks on Sunday.
The US and the UK have stepped up the rhetoric of a possible military strike on Syria in recent days, with British Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesperson saying Tuesday that contingency plans were being put in place and the PM himself announcing Monday that an intervention could go ahead without UN Security Council consensus.