Moscow, SANA- Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Dr. Fayssal Mikdad, has affirmed that Russia’s recognition of the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics is a step towards defending world peace, international law, the Charter of the United Nations and the proper international relations.
In a speech today during the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow, Minister Mikdad noted that the speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday was a watershed for responding to Western countries and the threats that these countries have been talking about for a long time.
Mikdad added that these countries have invaded the world and supported terrorism and used force and methods of deception and pressure, and they consider that those who follow its approach as democratic and free, while those who refuse to submit to its approach are hostile to democracy and freedom.
“We have been cooperating with the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk for a long time, and we believe that these current conditions will help increase this cooperation,” said Minister Mikdad.
He added “For more than eleven years, Syria has been subjected to an unprecedented terrorist war, and of course everyone knows that we have achieved an important field victory over terrorism thanks to our armed forces and the support of allies and friends, led by Russia, represented by its political leadership and its courageous forces that stood with us with all determination, but the real fruit of this victory was first represented in blowing up the narrative of the governments and hostile forces that were desperate to falsify the facts and practiced propaganda to show what happened in Syria as a civil war.”
“The second important fruit of that victory appeared at the national level in Syria, when the Syrians finally demonstrated their popular will by defeating terrorism in its various forms and nationalities, rejecting American and Western hegemony over our independence and national decision, and through the will for life, stability and prosperity for all Syrians, regardless of the security and economic challenges,” Mikdad said.
He continued: “Optimism is a natural and necessary characteristic of human beings for survival and continuity, but as government officials we always adhere to achieving a balance between optimism and realism above all… Why do I say that…? Because today we are facing great challenges on the economic and social levels in a country that has lived in war pains for more than ten years as large areas of it were subjected to the attacks of terrorist groups, led by al-Qaeda, Daesh (ISIS), Jabhat al-Nusra, and all of those affiliated with these groups that were supported, financed and armed by well-known governments that continue to this day in defying the principles of international law and violating Security Council resolutions that classified these groups as terrorist entities.”
Mikdad said “During the years of the terrorist war, our people and our state paid a heavy price in the lives of innocent citizens, the destruction of infrastructure and public and private property, the theft of oil, gas, wheat, natural resources, and the cultural and human heritage of the Syrian people. Today, the Syrian government’s efforts in the field of reconstruction and ensuring the safe return of the displaced Syrians to their homes and normal lives are facing unusual challenges with the continued illegitimate military presence of the US occupation forces and their control, with its separatist militias, over oil and gas wells and vital agricultural lands in northwestern Syria.
Mikdad said that Syria, which has never needed to import a single grain of wheat and until recently had been exporting it to several countries, is now compelled to import this basic material because the Syrian wheat is being plundered, stolen and seized by the US occupation forces and their separatist militias, which is forcing the Syrian government to import wheat in order to secure the citizens’ requirements and ensure the provision of bread to the citizens without stopping.
Mikdad indicated that the terrorist war and the acts of the US and Turkish aggression against Syria, as well as the imposed economic blockade, have caused a great disaster for the Syrian people.
Mikdad noted that Syria’s annual production of wheat before the war was about two and a half million tons. Today, Syria needs to import it after the massive decline in the production of this vital material, which, along with cotton, constituted the core of Syria’s food and industrial security, as Syria’s need for flour is currently estimated at one million and two hundred thousand annually, which needs 1.5 million tons of wheat to be secured annually.
“In sum, the rehabilitation and upgrading of Syria’s production of wheat will remain contingent on ending the occupation and restoring more than half a million hectares of agricultural land that no longer grows wheat due to the acute shortage of fuel and electric power. These factors are linked to another factor which is no less important, and it is represented by the Turkish side’s continued violation of the existing agreements between the two countries on the levels of river water flow within the 1987 Protocol, which causes a shortage of irrigation water needed for areas amounting to about 330 thousand hectares,” Mikdad said.
He added: “We are also facing an existential problem with the Turkish occupation of areas in northern Syria and the attempts of the Turkish regime to change the demographic structure and the Syrian identity in those areas and to ensure the continued control of the terrorist organizations of al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra over areas in the northwest of Syria to an unprecedented degree and under the eyes of the international community, which is watching how the Turkish government has become the main supporter for these terrorist organizations in Idleb and its vicinity, without moving a finger. It is not surprising that the leaders of the ISIS terrorist organization were killed in the territories controlled by the Turkish forces in northern Syria, as further evidence of Turkey’s support for this terrorist organization and other terrorist organizations in those areas.”
The Foreign and Expatriates Minister said “Syria is facing challenges along with allies and friends who continue to advocate the values of the United Nations Charter and the principles of international law in the field of reconstruction and the return of Syria to the path of sustainable development. This challenge is represented in the unilateral coercive measures imposed by the US and the European Union on the Syrian people, which have inhumanely increased which have unprecedentedly increased in recent years, and many know that the United States and the European Union are imposing a wide range of unilateral coercive economic measures on Syria, and successive US administrations have imposed such illegal measures under flimsy pretexts related to combating terrorism, while they were and still are an integral part of the US traditional policy of putting pressure on governments that are not subject to their hegemony and who disagree politically with them.”
He indicated that the direct and indirect negative economic and social repercussions of coercive measures imposed by the United States and the European Union on many peoples of the world affect about two billion people worldwide.
Mikdad added “Returning to the economic siege imposed on the Syrian people, the size and impact of the illegitimate coercive measures have increased as a result of the issuance of the previous two American administrations eight executive orders to tighten the economic siege on the Syrian people and to impose new unprecedented punitive measures on the sectors of banking, energy, investment, import and export, communications, air, sea and land transport with the aim of raising the level of the impact of these illegal sanctions on the Syrian people to the point of depriving them of their basic rights in life, especially their right to obtain medicine, health care and adequate food, in addition to preventing them from their right to obtain adequate resources of water, electricity, communications and internal and external mobility. The European Union is immediately catching up with the American decisions, receiving with complete obedience the American coercive measures that are being imposed on Syria, and taking the initiative to impose similar measures on it.”
Mikdad indicated that over the past two years, despite the UN and international demands, including the calls of the Secretary-General and many mandate-holders in the field of human rights, to lift the unilateral coercive economic measures imposed on the Syrian people to face the global repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, the US government and the European Union have issued several executive decisions to renew and tighten the effects of these measures, in parallel with the entry into force of the so-called “Caesar Act” by the US at the end of the year 2020, which included severe punitive economic measures against Syrians and against every foreign government or “third party” seeking to participate in economic, commercial, investment and service activities for the good of Syrian citizens inside Syria.
Mikdad noted that the US and European hostile interests and policies converged to impose coercive economic sanctions on the Syrian people in order to support a destructive and dangerous policy pursued by the two parties, which was and still is based on supporting terrorist organizations and separatist militias in Syria and the practice of blackmail and economic terrorism to target Syria and its allies in order to spread chaos and instability and to impose special agendas that cannot be in the interest of the Syrian people nor their right to return stability, security, welfare and human dignity to all without exception, stressing that the agenda of the United States, the European Union and some regional powers towards Syria still constitutes a threat to security and stability in the Middle East and the world.
Mikdad indicated that due to the suffocating economic blockade, Syria’s ranking in the Human Development Index declined to the list of the least developed countries according to the United Nations reports on human development, after Syria had achieved remarkable progress before the year 2011 in the field of implementing sustainable development standards and indicators and in the field of economic growth, which reached to 9 percent annually, and today, these illegitimate measures have serious negative effects even on the process of delivering humanitarian aid, as recognized by the United Nations organizations working on the ground. For example, but not limited to, the cost of the food basket provided by the World Food Program to needy Syrian families has increased fivefold over a period of ten months, and its nutritional value has been reduced to less than half.
The Foreign and Expatriates Minister added that despite the issuance of Security Council Resolution No. 2585 and its contents on expanding early recovery projects in Syria, the US-European economic blockade on Syria still prevents the United Nations from moving from providing humanitarian aid to supporting recovery and reconstruction projects and supporting the capabilities of the Syrian economy in the field of meeting the main needs of the Syrian citizens.
Mikdad pointed out that the unilateral coercive measures directly affected the capability of the main economic sectors on performing their tasks efficiently, particularly the energy, banking, health, industry, agricultural, telecommunication and internal and foreign trade sectors.
The Minister pointed out that the electricity sector in Syria has exposed since the beginning of the war to systematic sabotage by the terrorist groups, in addition to the aggressions by the so-called the “international coalition forces”, which caused about 50 percent of electricity system to go out of service, asserting that the total value of the direct damage reached about USD 8 billion.
Syria has been producing before the war 9500 megawatts, but today it is producing only about 2600 mw, which reflects the volume of the Syrian losses and deterioration on the level of the basic services as a result of the destruction, theft and sabotage affecting this sector.
Any plans or programs set by the Syrian government for rebuilding the economy and rehabilitating the industrial and agricultural and service sectors, mainly the educational and health ones and the bringing back the country to the track of recovery and sustainable development remain linked to rebuilding what was destroyed by the terrorist and hostile machine in the electric sector as it is considered the backbone of life and production, Mikdad went on saying.
He added that today Syria is in dire need to rehabilitate the power generation and transfer plants, transmission and distribution networks and building new plants which based on modern technologies and alternative energy sources in a way that the state guarantees achieving respond to the needs of various investment and service sectors in the country from electricity.
The U.S. and EU economic siege on Syria hinders the government’s ability to contract with foreign companies to maintain and rehabilitate the power generation stations and the transmission and distribution networks, Mikdad said, adding that this siege also limits the national capabilities to finance and maintenance projects or building new energy plants due to the ban on bank transfers.
Mikdad criticized the so-called US “Caesar Act”, which was enforced on June 2020, as the content of the unfair, inhuman and illegal Act was unprecedented in term of violating the UN relevant resolutions and the principles of the international law which all of them support the right of the state in development and prosperity and call for respecting the freedom of exchange, trade and investment among the states.
In regard with the Syrian public and private medical sector, Mikdad pointed out that this sector has been suffering for long years due to the illegitimate sanctions from appropriate incapability to import medical equipment and modern medical technologies and to import medicines and medical substances because of these unilateral coercive measures targeting the Syrian banking sector and that many companies, specialized in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, have refrained from contracting and dealing with the public and private sectors in Syria for fear from being targeted by the US government’s financial, banking and commercial sanctions.
He refuted the US government’s official and employees lies saying that the US sanctions do not affect entry of the food substances, humanitarian aid, medicine and medical supplies to Syria, as this allegation is a complete fabrication and the so-called “exceptions” granted by the US Treasury Department are still subjugate to politicized considerations which contradict with the Syrians interests and aspirations for better life.
Hala Zain/ Ruaa al-Jazaeri