World Bulletin/News Desk
The United States has responded to criticism by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of US Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks, saying that Kerry's remarks about the Syrian president cannot be characterized as “praise.”
“How could we praise someone who has killed 110,000 people? It does not matter if these people were killed with chemical weapons or with other weapons; in the end they were killed,” said Erdogan on Monday as he criticized Kerry for giving the Assad government credit for quickly complying with the UN resolution on destroying its chemical weapons arsenal.
When Kerry lauded the start of the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria as a “good beginning” and welcomed the regime's compliance with the chemical destruction plan, Erdogan said he could not believe that Kerry would make such a statement, one which would contradict his former stance towards the Syrian regime.
During a daily press briefing on Monday, Marie Harf, the deputy spokesperson for US State Department, said Kerry's remarks cannot be characterized as praise for President Bashar al-Assad, saying that Washington's position regarding the Syrian president has not in any way changed.
“We have been very clear, from the president to the secretary to this podium, that what Bashar al-Assad has done is horrific. He has no legitimacy. Nobody is giving him any praise,” Harf clarified.
Noting that it is a fact that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN are working to destroy Assad's chemical weapons, Harf said this does not mean conferring legitimacy on the regime.
Describing the Syrian regime's collaboration on the chemical weapons issue as a good sign, Harf said Syria's initial declaration to the OPCW of its chemical weapons holdings and facilities on Oct. 27 will be evaluated by Washington as well. “This is the first official declaration to the OPCW as part of their [the Syrian regime's] responsibilities under the Chemical Weapons Convention,” added Harf.
In reference to reports that Hamas, the Palestinian group, is set to open an office in Turkey, Harf said, “Of course, it's a foreign terrorist organization that remains a destabilizing force in Gaza and the region. In terms of specific things that might happen in Turkey, I'd refer you to the government of Turkey to answer those questions.”Last Mod: 09 Ekim 2013, 09:52