Syria: death of Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem died at dawn on Monday at the age of 79, the Syrian government said without disclosing the cause of death.

Head of diplomacy since 2006, Mouallem was already in office when the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011.

Unfailing support of the power of Bashar al-Assad, showcase of the regime internationally, Mouallem had become known for his sarcasm and his virulent criticism of Western countries, while he tirelessly blames the war ravaging his country on a ” foreign conspiracy.

In the summer of 2011, just a few months after the start of the conflict, Washington adopted sanctions against it, accusing it of repeating “the catchphrase of the international conspiracy” and of trying “to cover up the horrible acts of the regime”.

He appeared weakened on Friday

His last public appearance was on Thursday and Friday at a conference organized by Syria to discuss the return of millions of refugees driven out by the conflict. He appeared weakened and two men were helping him walk into the room.

The government announced Monday “with sadness” the death at dawn of this “veteran of diplomacy”, who made himself known for “his honorable patriotic positions”, according to a statement taken by the official press agency Sana .

The funeral will be held Monday afternoon in Damascus, where he was born, the agency said.

Mouallem also held the post of Deputy Prime Minister. He had been ambassador to Washington from 1990 to 1999, according to Sana.

Having had a diplomatic career in Saudi Arabia, Spain and England in particular, he was appointed Ambassador of Syria to Romania in 1975.

Married and father of three children, he is the author of four history books, notably on Syria or the Palestinian conflict.

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