Saturday 24 February 2018

Syria blames Riyadh for conflict

The paralysis of the UN Security Council over Syria is 'a stain', outgoing US ambassador Susan Rice said
The paralysis of the UN Security Council over Syria is 'a stain', outgoing US ambassador Susan Rice said

The Syrian information minister has lashed out at Saudi Arabia, saying Riyadh is responsible for his country's conflict.

Omran al-Zoubi says Saudi Arabia is providing weapons and money to "terrorists", the government's term for rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.

Damascus has previously blamed Sunni Gulf states for its civil war.

Mr Al-Zoubi's remarks came after Riyadh said Syria faces a "foreign invasion" by Mr Assad's allies.

His comments were carried by the state-run Sana news agency late on Tuesday after Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal discussed the conflict with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jiddah, condemning Mr Assad for bolstering his army with fighters from Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group.

Saudi Arabia is Washington's key ally and a foe of Iran. It is backing Syria's predominantly Sunni rebels. Tehran supports Mr Assad.

Meanwhile, the UN's failure to take action to stop the conflict in Syria is "a moral and strategic disgrace that history will judge harshly", outgoing US ambassador Susan Rice said.

She told reporters at her final news conference on Tuesday before starting her new job as US national security adviser that the paralysis of the UN Security Council is "a stain" on it that she will regret forever.

She maintained the US and its allies were not responsible, and blamed three double vetoes by Russia and China of resolutions aimed at pressuring Syria's president Bashar Assad to end the violence, even though they did not contain sanctions.

Ms Rice expressed hope that the Syrian people will ultimately be able to chart their own future "and certainly the United States is committed to supporting them in those efforts and we will remain so".

Press Association

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