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World Politics

UN accused of arming and funding 'terrorists'

Syria accused the US, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey yesterday of hijacking the country's 18 month-old conflict between government forces and rebel groups by aiding terrorism" with arms, money and foreign fighters.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told the UN General Assembly that outside calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step down were a "blatant interference in the domestic affairs of Syria". Earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Mr Moualem and strongly criticised the Syrian government for killings, rights abuses, aerial and artillery attacks.

Speaking before the 193-nation assembly, Mr Muallem said Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the US, and France "clearly induce and support terrorism in Syria with money, weapons and foreign fighters." "Under the pretext of 'Responsibility to Protect,' drums of war are beaten, and sedition and unrest are spreading," he said, referring to a collective concept that was used to justify last year's military intervention in Libya.