Middle East News
Syria foreign minister: We will forget that Europe exists
Jun 22, 2011, 10:05 GMT
Damascus/Cairo - Syrian Foreign Minister Waleed Moallem on Wednesday accused European officials of interfering in Syria's affairs.
'To European officials, I say: stop interfering in Syrian affairs and stop encouraging chaos and strife,' Moallem said in a press conference in Damascus.
His statement came after European Union foreign ministers met earlier in the week to discuss further sanctions against individuals and firms with links to president Bashar al-Assad and his government.
Moallem accused EU officials of relying on 'distorted foreign media reports' regarding the crisis in Syria.
'We will forget that Europe exists on the map, and we will look north, south, east and west for deeper relationships,' Moallem said.
More than 1,300 civilians have been killed and 10,000 detained since protests demanding greater freedoms and the ouster of al-Assad erupted in March, according to local human rights groups.
The Syrian government has repeatedly blamed the unrest on foreign infiltrators and terrorist groups.
Moallem stressed that 'all Syrians' are welcome to take part in the national dialogue mentioned by al-Assad in a speech on Monday and said that serious reforms would take place 'within weeks.'
In his address, al-Assad promised a package of reforms and a new constitution.
Meanwhile, the opposition Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria said that security forces raided dormitories at the University of Damascus.
The security forces arrived after clashes erupted between student protesting in support of al-Assad and those calling for his resignation, activists said online.
A number of students were reportedly beaten and arrested in the raid.
It is not possible to independently verify these reports as foreign journalists have been banned from entering Syria.