Pro-government forces run across the street in the Suleiman al-Halabi neighbourhood of Aleppo in October 2012
Pro-government forces run across the street in the Suleiman al-Halabi neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo in October 2012. France's recognition of a new opposition bloc as the Syrian's people sole representative was "immoral" and only encourages more destruction, the war-torn country's deputy foreign minister said Wednesday. © - AFP/File
Pro-government forces run across the street in the Suleiman al-Halabi neighbourhood of Aleppo in October 2012
Sammy Ketz, AFP
Last updated: November 15, 2012

Syria blasts French "immoral" recognition of opposition

France's recognition of a new opposition bloc as the Syrian people's sole representative was "immoral" and only encourages more destruction, the war-torn country's deputy foreign minister said Wednesday.

In an interview with AFP, Faisal Muqdad also lashed out against the new opposition coalition forged in Doha on Sunday, accusing dissidents who have ruled out dialogue with President Bashar al-Assad's regime of declaring war.

France recognised the newly formed National Coalition on Tuesday as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, the first Western state to do so, and said the question of arming the rebels must now be reviewed.

"Allow me to use the word, this is an immoral position because it allows the killing of Syrians," Muqdad said. "They are supporting killers, terrorists and they are encouraging the destruction of Syria."

Muqdad also accused France of reviving "its colonialist past".

"The French leadership believes the whole colonialist history will return again," he said, accusing it of violating international law by supporting "terrorism".

Since the start of an anti-regime revolt in March 2011, the regime has described dissidents -- and later rebels -- as "armed terrorist groups" supported by the West, Turkey and some Arab states.

"This flagrant interference by France in Syrian internal affairs violates the Charter of the United Nations. The best way forward for France is to leave the Middle East alone," said Muqdad.

Muqdad denounced France's decision to rethink its position on arming the rebels.

"We strongly condemn the French position, which is unacceptable," said Muqdad.

"France is now giving financial and technical help to the terrorists," said Muqdad. "They are responsible for the killing of thousands of Syrians by giving the terrorist groups such a help."

French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday that the question of arming the rebels would now "have to be necessarily reviewed not only in France but in all countries which will recognise this government".

Meanwhile, in the Syrian regime's first official reaction to the Doha meeting, Muqdad said the dissidents' declaration in the Qatari capital amounted to a declaration of war.

Opposition factions in Doha agreed to set up the National Coalition and bring together rebel forces under a supreme military council, as well as establish a judicial commission for rebel areas.

The National Coalition's declaration also included an outright rejection of any negotiation with the regime. They plan to form a provisional government once the coalition has been widely recognised internationally.

"The Doha meeting was a declaration of war. These people (the opposition) don't want to solve the issue peacefully through the mechanisms of the UN," Muqdad said.

"They reject any dialogue with the government."

The regime has long accused rebels of being funded and mobilised by foreign powers.

"We are ready to discuss with the Syrian opposition which is led in Syria and not led or fabricated elsewhere," said Muqdad. "We want to participate to a national dialogue with everybody who wants to solve the issue peacefully."

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