NEW YORK (Dispatches) – Syria’s foreign minister says U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is attempting to suffocate Syrians with sanctions "just like George Floyd and others were cruelly suffocated in the United States.”
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly via a pre-recorded video, Syria’s Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Walid al-Muallem likened the effect of the sanctions to the death of Floyd, a Black American who died in May after a white police officer knelt on his neck.
"The real purpose of the Act is to put pressure on Syrians, their livelihoods, and their daily lives. It is an inhumane attempt to suffocate Syrians, just like George Floyd and others were cruelly suffocated in the United States,” Muallem said.
New U.S. sanctions that took effect in June under the so-called Caesar Act have put the war-torn country’s already crumbling economy under further pressure by prohibiting foreign companies from trading with Damascus.
The Syrian foreign minister called on all countries targeted with sanctions to unite and take joint political and economic action to resist the measures.
"Unilateral coercive measures imposed by some countries clearly violate international law. The humanitarian exemptions they repeatedly invoke do not exist on the ground. […] We call on all affected countries and those that reject such measures to close ranks against them and alleviate their impact on our peoples. This should happen through cooperation, coordination and concrete political, economic and commercial means,” Muallem said at the UN General Assembly.
He said that relevant UN Security Council resolutions still need to find their way from the archives to real implementation.
"Political agendas continue to take precedence over humanitarian agendas. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the world the unilateral coercive measures imposed on the Syrian people and other peoples are being renewed instead of lifted,” Muallem said, adding that new restrictive measures are also being added, "under false pretexts.”
Muallem also accused Turkey of being the main sponsor of regional terrorism, saying that Syria will spare no effort to end the illegitimate presence of Turkish, as well as U.S. troops on Syrian soil.
"There are those who invest in, support and fuel terrorism moving terrorists from one region to another and from one country to another, all in the service of their suspicious agendas. Of course, when it comes to sponsors and financiers of terrorism, the current Turkish regime reigns supreme. The Turkish regime is one of the main sponsors of terror in Syria and the region. It has facilitated the passage of tens of thousands of foreign terrorists into Syria and continues to provide all forms of support to Al Nusra Front and affiliated terrorist groups that have massacred Syrians,” Muallem said.