Zarif: Muallem defended national interests, security of Syria
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says late Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem spent his entire career in the service of his country’s national interests and security.
“During his lifetime, he played an important part in serving and defending the national interests and security of his country,” Zarif wrote in a message of condolence to head of Syria’s council of ministers on Monday.
The top Iranian diplomat told Hussein Arnous, “I would like to express my condolences to your Excellency, the family of the deceased and my colleagues in the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for this loss.”
Syria’s official news agency SANA announced on Monday that Muallem had died in the early hours of the day, and would be laid to rest later in Damascus.
There were no details on the cause of his death, but Syria’s top diplomat had for years been suffering from a heart condition.
Muallem first took on the portfolio of the foreign minister in 2006. He was also designated deputy prime minister in 2012.
The veteran diplomat held a succession of top diplomatic posts, including ambassador to the United States, and repeatedly slammed anti-Damascus policies adopted by Washington.
Muallem was a close ally of President Bashar al-Assad during the country's foreign-backed conflict, which erupted in 2011.
On Monday afternoon, the body of the Syrian foreign minister was escorted to his final resting place amid an official and popular presence.
SANA reported that the funeral procession set off from Shami Hospital to Saad bin Muaz Mosque, where funeral prayer was performed and then the body was buried in the cemetery of Mezzeh neighborhood in Damascus.
Syria’s Minister of Presidential Affairs Mansour Azzam represented President Assad at the funeral ceremonies.
Governors of Damascus and its countryside, a number of Arab and foreign ambassadors, representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Damascus, heads and members of professional unions and popular organizations, prominent official, political, religious and economic figures, and national and Palestinian parties also participated in the funeral, according to SANA.
Syria's late top diplomat on numerous occasions denounced the US role in the conflict that plagued his country.
In August 2012, Muallem said Washington was "the major player against Syria" in the war, noting that the US was supporting terrorism in Syria in spite of its claims to be fighting it.
He also said in his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly in 2019 that "tens of thousands of foreign terrorist fighters have been brought to Syria from more than a hundred countries, with the support and cover of States that are known to all," in an apparent reference to the US and Turkey, who maintain an illegal military presence in northern Syria.
Source: Press TV