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US slams Syria over UN rights meeting walkout

Associated Press
Feb 29, 2012 at 01:53am IST

Geneva: The United States criticised Syria's envoy for storming out of an emergency UN meeting on the crisis in his country on Tuesday, saying the walkout and a fiery speech that preceded it demonstrated the "delusional" nature of President Bashar al Assad's regime.

Syria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Fayssal al-Hamwi, had accused members of the UN Human Rights Council of promoting terrorism and prolonging the crisis in his country by holding an urgent meeting on Syria.

"Anybody who heard the Syrian ambassador should be aware that his comments were borderline out of touch with reality," Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, the US representative to the 47-nation council, told reporters.

US slams Syria over UN rights meeting walkout

Syria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva had accused members of the UN Human Rights Council of promoting terrorism and prolonging the crisis in his country.

"I think it's a reflection to some extent of what's going on with the Assad regime itself, holding a referendum that is farcical and a mockery of democratic processes when they're in the midst of a humanitarian crisis of their own creation," she said. "I think the Syrian ambassador's comments were equally delusional."

Al-Hamwi took the floor shortly after the UN's top human rights official called for an immediate cease-fire in Syria and unhindered access for aid agencies to deliver emergency supplies and evacuate the sick and wounded.

"We are convinced that the real aim behind holding this session today is to cover up for the violence and murder perpetrated by the armed groups against innocent civilians," Syria's ambassador told diplomats.

"We are not pretending that the human rights situation in Syria is perfect," he added.

"We are aware that there is a regression in the quality of services usually provided by the government to the population by the regions facing violence. This is due to the armed groups that are using residential areas as bases."

As diplomats and government officials from 70 countries lined up to express their concern about the deteriorating situation in Syria, al-Hamwi announced that his delegation would withdraw from what he called "this sterile discussion."

Before storming out of the room, he denounced a planned resolution on Syria as "malicious and prejudiced."

Members of the Geneva-based council are expected to pass a resolution this week condemning "widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities."

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