In an interview with the satellite television channel Al Mayadeen on Sunday, Syria’s top diplomat stated his government supports efforts aimed at integration among regional countries.
He added the Islamic Republic of Iran has always supported the Arabs and sided with the people of Syria and Palestine, and welcomed any move toward rapprochement between Tehran and the Arab world.
“We must respond well to the good behavior of the Iranian side,” Mekdad stated.
He also noted the government in Damascus is “not afraid of Israel or its sponsors”, as he reaffirmed support for Lebanon, which has seen Syria serve as a conduit for shipments of Iranian fuel to the crisis-stricken neighboring country.
Earlier this week, the second Lebanon-bound shipment of Iranian fuel arrived in Syria’s northwestern port city of Baniyas under an initiative by the Hezbollah resistance movement to ease the Arab country’s crippling energy crisis.
The fuel is being imported to sanctions-battered Lebanon via Syria in an effort to avoid entangling Lebanon in the US sanctions on Iran.
The humanitarian move by Iran has ruffled feathers in Tel Aviv. Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah last month dared the Israeli regime to stop the shipment.
“The vessel, from the moment it sails until it enters (Mediterranean) waters, will be considered Lebanese territory,” he said during a televised speech last month, adding, “To the Americans and Israelis, I say: it’s Lebanese territory.”
Mekdad, echoing Nasrallah’s words, said Syria is not afraid of the Israeli regime and its attempts to prevent the Iranian fuel from reaching Lebanon.
He also lashed out at Western countries for their “double standards” toward the government and the people of Syria.
“Syria does not trust the intentions of Western countries,” Mekdad asserted, adding, “These countries created terrorism in Syria and financed it and they continue to send terrorists and assassins to Syria.”
The Syrian foreign minister also denounced the unilateral US approach, stressing that Washington has suffered on the account of its distance from international organizations.
“Syria is rich in natural resources, but the US and European sanctions have caused problems to the country’s economy,” he said, lambasting the sanctions regime against Syria.
Mekdad also called for the repeal of the Caesar Act, which blocks foreign investments in Syria’s reconstruction efforts, calling it a “crime against humanity” by the US government.
He added the law is “not in the interest of the people of Syria but in the interest of Israel”.
The top Syrian diplomat further called for the “dignified withdrawal” of US forces from the region, “not like Afghanistan”.