By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
NEW YORK, USA — In his opening statement to the 68th United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, the president of Guyana, Donald Ramotar, devoted a chunk of his speech to address the crisis in the Middle East — Syria, Egypt and Palestine — by pointing out what he alleged are double standards by major world powers in dealing with the latter issues. He claimed that terrorists, part of the so called rebels fighting in Syria, are suddenly, “freedom fighters,” and that global powers tacitly condoned the military coup in Egypt by remaining silent.
Ramotar said, “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 a terrorist.”
Guyana welcomed the agreement between Russia and the United States to rid Syria of chemical weapons and in the same breath urged “all countries that possess such weapons to do the same.” Ramotar also called for a political solution to address the Syrian civil war.
He added, “It is an illusion to believe that military intervention will bring peace to that country. What is badly needed is a political dialogue between the Syrian parties.”
The Syrian civil war involves various nations and religious groups in that country fighting for power. Some of these groups are Alawite, Kurd, Christian, Druze, Sunni and Shia. The so called “freedom fighters”, some Middle East experts and intelligence sources claim, are Sunnis backed by Saudi Arabia, the United States, the European Union and Sunni Gulf Kingdoms, the same alliance that supported Saddam Hussein’s war against Iran, which saw tens of thousands of Iranians gassed by Saddam’s chemical weapons.
Ramotar then turned his attention to Egypt, calling the recent military coup there a “blow against democracy,” and accused major world powers of remaining silent “instead of condemning the use of such means to change governments.”
Ramotar said, “This gave tacit support to the coup, which has led to the violation of human rights and may lead to more protests and possible violence.”
As always, Guyana, a member of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people since 1975, reiterated its support for the Palestinian right to an independent state. Ramotar said, “Peace in the Middle East will not be realised until we have a just solution to the Palestinian tragedy. The Palestinian people have the right to their own country. We support them in their quest for the right to live in peace and in an independent, viable Palestinian state.”