New York: The Syrian ambassador to the
UN rejected European criticism of his government`s crackdown
on Thursday and compared the protests in his country to this week`s
riots in Britain. The British envoy immediately branded the
comparison as "absurd."
"It`s very informative to hear the Prime Minister of
England describing the riots and the rioters in England by
using the term gangs," Ambassador Bashar Ja`afari told
reporters. "They don`t allow us to use the same term for the
armed groups and the terrorist groups in my country. This is
hypocrisy. This is arrogance.
"London, Birmingham, Bristol is only 1 percent of what
happened in some restive areas of my country," Ja`afari said.
British Ambassador Philip Parham, who addressed reporters
alongside other European envoys earlier in the evening,
returned to the microphone outside Security Council chambers
to reject Ja`afari`s statements as an "absurd comparison."
Parham said the British government is handling the riots
with "measured, proportionate, legal, transparent steps to
restore the rule of law." In Syria, "you have a situation
where thousands of unarmed civilians are being attacked and
killed," said Parham, Britain`s deputy permanent
representative to the UN.
Syria`s envoy testily addressed reporters after Parham
and representatives of the other three European nations on the
15-member Security Council, France, Portugal and Germany,
first addressed journalists, telling them that Syria`s
continued use of force against protesters must stop.
"Some 2,000 civilians have now been killed, the vast
majority of them unarmed," Parham said.
Ja`afari said the European ambassadors "try to manipulate
the truth" about Syria, and "avoided making reference to very
important and positive progress that has been achieved in my