Syrian FM blames West for suffering of his people

Associated Press
A Syrian child looks at a cat while sitting in front in front of his home, in Maaret Misreen, near Idlib, Syria, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

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BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's foreign minister has blamed the suffering of his country's people on U.S. and European sanctions imposed on his country.

Walid al-Moallem has called on the United Nations to condemn these sanctions and work toward lifting them.

Moallem made his comments Saturday during a meeting in the capital, Damascus, with U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos who is on a one-day visit to Syria.

The US and EU have imposed a wave of sanctions to punish President Bashar Assad's regime for its crackdown against protesters calling for democratic reforms. The protests have morphed into a civil war that has left more than 40,000 dead.

The current sanctions include a freeze on the assets of Assad and other Syrian government leaders, along with an embargo on the oil and arms trades.

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