U.S., Syria spar and Rice calls for sanctions

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States and Syria locked horns on Tuesday, with Washington urging others to join it in imposing sanctions on Damascus and Syria telling America to stop trying to impose its will on Arabs.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem told the United Nations General Assembly that the world pays the price when the U.S. government thinks it knows what Arabs want better than the Arabs themselves.

Washington has long listed Syria as a “state sponsor of terrorism” and relations have worsened with the United States accusing Syria of helping to fuel the insurgency in Iraq. Damascus denies both charges.

…In his U.N. speech, Rice’s Syrian counterpart said it was essential that the United States and other countries draw up a schedule for withdrawing from Iraq. He insisted it would help curb the violence there.

“Tragically enough, we all end up paying the price when the decision makers in Washington believe that they know better, and are in a better position to understand and grasp the needs and circumstances of the Arabs,” Moualem said.

“They diagnose the ambitions and aspirations of the Arab individual in a manner that is tailored to their own vision.”

Moualem assailed the United States for its support of Israel and other policies in the Middle East, saying the flow of U.S. weapons to Israel was sowing destruction. He also criticized those who finance and support what he called the injustices of the Israeli occupation of Arab territories.

“The Palestinians are subjected to a crippling blockade because the advocates of democracy were dissatisfied with the results of the elections in the Palestinian territories,” Moualem said.


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