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Ramotar raps West on double standards in Middle East; welcomes US-Russia pact on Syria’s chemical weapons

President Donald Ramotar addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday

President Donald Ramotar on Thursday chided sections of the West for displaying double-standards in political upheavals in Egypt and Syria, saying that those actions all amounted to terrorism.

He was at the time addressing the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York- the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the institution’s 193 member countries.

“We hope, too, that there would be a withdrawal of terrorist forces operating in Syria. After all, they cannot be terrorists when they were fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq but freedom fighters when fighting the Syrian government. A terrorist is simply a terrorist,’ he said.

Ramotar expressed concern about the military overthrow of the Egypt’s first democratically elected government in July led by President Mohamed Morsy, saying “a blow was struck against democracy when the coup took place” there.

“The major world powers, instead of condemning the use of such means to change governments chose to remain silent. This gave tacit support to the coup which has led to the violation of human rights and the loss of innocent lives and may lead to more protest and possibly violence and death,” he said in his 16-minute long address.

Egypt receives more than US$1 billion annually in military aid, something that the American TV network, NBC News, has noted runs counter to US law which prohibits military or financial assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree. The US has since suspended military aid to Egypt.

Syria’s ongoing civil war, which has claimed thousands of lives and included the use of deadly chemical weapons, almost triggered a US military attack on that country. With the Barack Obama administration finding it almost impossible to muster sufficient domestic political support for a military strike, the US and Russia have agreed to find a way out of conflict- a move that the Guyanese leader has welcomed.

“We welcome the agreement between Russia and the United States which will facilitate the destruction of chemical weapons held in Syria,” he said, adding that all countries possessing such arsenals should do the same.

President Ramotar cautioned that lasting peace in the Middle East would remain a dream unless the Palestinian homeland crisis was resolved. “The Palestinian people have a right to their own country. We support them in their right to live in peace and in an independent viable Palestinian State.”

While in New York, the Guyanese leader is expected to meet the Guyanese communities in Brooklyn and Queens.