The Syrian Ambassador to Nigeria defended his country’s position.
The Syrian government on Thursday, again denied using chemical weapons on its people, and vowed a tough response to any aggression by the United States, which accuses the Bashar al-Assad government of gassing more than 1,000 of its citizens to death.
The Syrian ambassador to Nigeria, Shafik Daiyob, repeated his government’s claim that it has never used chemical weapons against Syrians and will never do so even “if it had them.”
Speaking exclusively to PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja, Mr. Daiyob said the Syrian government still believed the United States will listen to the “voice of reason” and refrain from any military intervention. The U.S. Congress is to vote next week on whether to authorize military action against Syria.
Mr. Daiyob however warned that in the event of any aggression, the country will defend itself with all “possible but legitimate means” available.
“I hope the voice of wisdom will prevail on American lawmakers. I hope they respond to the demands of their people,” Mr. Daiyob said.
“But in the case of aggression against Syria, I want to reiterate that Syria will defend itself with possible means. That is a legitimate right according to international law and the United Nations charter.”
The diplomat warned that external aggression on Syria will exacerbate conflict in the region and had the potential of inflaming the world. He accused the Western nations of conspiring against Syria on a trumped charge of alleged chemical weapon use.
“What is happening in Syria is not a coincidence, it is the result of a conspiracy between the Americans and their allies,” he said.
He said the evidence put forward by the United States have failed to convince even Americans, and their allies, much less, the rest of the world.
The remarks came as leaders of the world’s biggest 20 economies, meeting in Russia, were locked in a divisive debate over Syria.
Opening the summit, the host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, confirmed Syria would be discussed at the working dinner, despite not being on the agenda.
U.S. President Barack Obama has already talked to Japan’s leader about Syria, and is pushing for support for military strikes against the Damascus regime, the BBC reported.
Russia and China have warned the U.S. not to take action without UN backing.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Putin told the leaders, gathered in St Petersburg, that some participants had asked for time to discuss “very acute topics of international politics, in particular the situation around Syria”.
The U.S accuses the Syrian government of using chemical weapons on 21 August on the outskirts of Damascus. It said the attack killed 1,429 people and has released an intelligence assessment blaming the Syrian government.
German and U.S. media published further analysis on Thursday, both claiming that the gas used in the attack was more potent than expected, and that Syrian forces may have got the mix wrong.
Also, on Thursday, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said British scientists have uncovered further evidence linking the Damascus attack to the use of chemical weapons.
The Syrian ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Daiyob, questioned the logic of his government launching chemical attacks when United Nations investigators were already in Syria at the time.
He said Mr. Assad could not step down as demanded by the opposition, as a precondition for peace talks to ending the 30 month old war, because he was duly elected by Syrians and his stay in office was left for Syrians to decide.
“If the Syrian people want him to stay for as long as, that is their decision,” he said.