Syria accuses France of encouraging 'terrorism'
BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem speaks during the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on October 1, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ TIMOTHY A. CLARYDamascus accused France on Tuesday of hindering efforts to stop the violence and of supporting "terrorists" in strife-torn Syria, referring to the rebels fighting against loyalist troops.
"Syria calls on the international community, and in particular the UN Security Council, to seriously question the role of France, which is preventing the cessation of violence and terrorism in Syria," state news agency SANA quoted the foreign ministry as saying.
"The previous and current French governments continue to defy universal rights in a flagrant manner... by supporting armed terrorist groups in Syria." Moreover, Paris encourages "terrorists to pursue their massacres against civilians", the ministry said.
Since the start of an initially peaceful uprising in March 2011, the Syrian government and media outlets have referred to activists and to rebels alike as "terrorists" backed by foreign powers.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has emerged as one of the most vocal critics of the Assad regime, calling at last month's UN General Assembly for UN protection for "liberated zones" under opposition control.
But Paris has stopped short of arming the rebels, instead providing non-lethal aid, including 1.5 million euros in financial and medical assistance distributed to civilian committees in Syria in late August.
On October 17, civil administrators of "liberated" areas were invited to meet with officials and diplomats from some 20 foreign countries at the French foreign ministry to outline their humanitarian needs.