Western nations are trying to unleash "total chaos" in Syria that will lead to the break-up of the country, Syria's foreign minister told the UN on Monday.
With Europe and the United States pressing for UN Security Council sanctions against Syria, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said the protests in which at least 2,700 people have been killed have become a "pretext for foreign interventions."
Giving Syria's speech to the annual UN General Assembly, Muallem said foreign governments sought to undermine the co-existence between Syria's different religious groups.
"How can we otherwise explain media provocations, financing and arming religious extremism?" he said.
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"What purpose could this serve other than total chaos that would dismember Syria -- and consequently adversely affect its neighbours."
The European Union and the United States have already imposed sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad over his deadly crackdown on opposition protests. They are pressing the UN Security Council to also slap sanctions but Russia and China oppose .
"By targeting the Syrian economy with sanctions, the United States and European Union jeopardize the interests and the basic daily subsistence needs of the Syrian people," Muallem said.
Muallem said Syrian people "are determined to reject all forms of foreign intervention."
The minister said "political circumstances" had held up Assad's promised reforms.