memri

September 27, 2019
Clip No.
7515

Syrian FM Walid Al-Muallem Exchanges Kisses with Arab League Leader Aboul Gheit during an Impromptu Meeting at the U.N.

On September 27, 2019, Lebanon's Mayadeen TV aired a news report about Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem's visit to the U.N. General Assembly in New York. According to the report, Al-Muallem had an impromptu hall meeting with Arab League's Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Aboul Gheit exchanged kisses with Al-Muallem and other members of the Syrian delegation. The report details Al-Muallem's meetings with his counterparts from various countries, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Lavrov and Al-Muallem expressed their satisfaction with the Syrian Constitutional Committee. When asked by a reporter about his opinions about accusations against Syria by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Al-Muallem claimed he didn't know who Pompeo was.

 

Reporter: The participation of Walid Al-Muallem, Deputy Prime Minister and FM of Syria, in the U.N. General Assembly did not lack surprises and meaningful political jests. While Muallem and his aides were waiting to meet a guest, Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League, passed by him.

Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit: Brother, say 'Good evening!' you can't possibly not...

Walid Al-Muallem: Why not?

Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit: How are you? I'm very happy to see you.

Faisal Mekdad: Yes, I can tell.

Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit: No, really, I am happy to see you, I know you have been... Ok, guys...

Reporter: There was a Syrian reconciliation with the head of the [Arab] League, and not its body, but this reconciliation does not necessarily seem to be only a personal one. The reconciliation took place immediately after Abu-Al-Gheit's meeting with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Ibrahim Al-Assaf. Al-Muallem also met Venezuelan FM Jorge Arreaza, as a friend, while his meeting with Cypriot FM Nikos Christodoulides had a Western and a European ambience to it, as Syria and Cyprus share a lot of history and interests, and they constitute a meeting point between the East and the West. It was only natural for Russia and Syria – the two allies – to review their relations as well as issues pertaining to the Syrian crisis, in a routine meeting.

Sergey Lavrov: This is a great opportunity to meet, after we succeeded in taking a very important step by forming the [Syrian] Constitutional Committee. This step was welcomed by everybody, first and foremost by the Secretary-General of the U.N., who is very enthusiastic. The only thing left is to organize the ceremony marking the beginning of the [committee's] work in Geneva.

Reporter: Al-Muallem also expressed his satisfaction with the committee. He considered the operational framework [of the committee] to be a victory for the Syrian people.

Walid Al-Muallem: The operational framework that we agreed upon takes into consideration the achievements of the Syrian Arab army, as well as the blood of the martyrs, and Syria's victories.

Reporter: When Al-Muallem was asked about his opinion about accusations levelled against Syria by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he denied ever knowing [Pompeo].

Walid Al-Muallem: Pompeo who?

Interviewer: The U.S. Secretary of State.

Walid Al-Muallem: Good thing that you remember who he is, I don't know him.

Reporter: With his well-known sense of humor, the Syrian FM denied ever knowing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but at the same time he warned that any kind of zone that would be established in northern Syria would bring about long-term instability in that region.