Walid Al-Mouallem … the sheikh of confident diplomacy

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Yesterday, Damascus mourned with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Walid Al-Muallem, who is considered the most prominent pillar of Syrian diplomacy and one of the most important faces of the country’s leadership since 2006, and he is the face that Syria has raised to the world in international forums. The teacher had died at dawn on Monday, at the age of 79, after suffering from health problems, noting that in 2014 he underwent a heart bypass operation at the American University of Beirut Hospital.
The Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a joint statement carried by the official Syrian News Agency “SANA”, “with great sadness and sorrow,” announced the death of the teacher, who was “known for his honorable national stances in various arenas of political and diplomatic work.” Al-Mouallem is a veteran diplomat, who was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006, succeeding Farouk al-Sharaa, and since 2012 he has held the position of Deputy Prime Minister. During the war years, he represented the front of the Syrian leadership in front of the world and in international forums, as he was known for his mocking stances from the West, which imposed sanctions on Syria and against him personally, especially on August 31, 2011, when he was affected by the US sanctions, and an American official described it at the time as “the link between Damascus And Tehran. ” He was also subjected to European sanctions in the following year for “protesting against Damascus’s forceful suppression of demonstrations.”
Al-Mouallem, who is married and has three children, joined the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1964, a year after he graduated from Cairo University with a BA in Economics and Political Science. And he traveled in several diplomatic assignments outside the country, before his appointment as ambassador to Washington between 1990 and 1999. Al-Muallem has four books: Palestine and Armed Peace 1970, Syria in the Mandate Period from 1917 to 1948, in addition to “Syria from Independence to Unity from 1948 to 1958” and “The World and the Middle East in the American Perspective.” . Al-Muallem retained his position, despite changing governments and ministers. He always reiterated that President Al-Assad “will remain in his position as long as the people want him.” He was among the first to describe armed groups in Syria as “terrorists”. He is also one of the strongest critics of the Kurdish forces that have dealt with Washington. In 2014, he headed the Syrian delegation to the first round of talks with the opposition sponsored by the United Nations in Switzerland. The teacher was known for his calm tone and coolness even in the most difficult stages of the war. He was known for his quick wit in responding to any questions posed to him, and for his diplomacy and openness even within his ministry, as he was interested in listening to his team members, finding out the most accurate details of their work, the work of the Syrian ambassadors, and their ability to take over the tasks.

He was known for his calm tone and coolness even during the most difficult stages of the war

The funeral procession of the teacher began yesterday from Al-Shami Hospital, then prayer was held on his body in the Saad bin Muadh mosque, before it was buried in the Mezzeh area in Damascus. The funeral was attended by Syrian and foreign diplomatic figures, and representatives of consulates and embassies, most notably the Russian, Iranian, Venezuelan, Chinese and Indian. A large number of Syrian officials and the entire Syrian Foreign Ministry’s staff also attended and offered condolences to the son of teacher Tariq and his brothers. The last appearance of the late was last Wednesday, in the “International Conference on the Return of Syrian Refugees,” when he appeared ill and was using people to stand and move around. During the funeral, the Minister of Information, Imad Sarah, said in a statement to journalists, that “the minister, despite his illness and pain, insisted on attending the international conference for the return of Syrian refugees, which is his last message to invite the people of the homeland displaced by terrorism to return to their country.” Also, the Prime Minister, Hussein Arnous, saw that his country had lost a “veteran diplomat who ably defended his homeland, Syria, in international and regional forums and various political arenas.”
Externally, Moscow called the teacher a “loyal friend and reliable partner.” Deputy Russian Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, said that al-Muallem was a “seasoned diplomat who had known him for 35 years,” noting that he “knew how important the Russian-Syrian relations were.” Bogdanov added, “He was very intelligent, had a sense of humor, and had a deep knowledge of international politics and realities in the Middle East.” The Iranian Foreign Minister, Muhammad Javad Zarif, in turn, extended his condolences on the death of Al-Muallem, who “played an important role in defending his country’s national interests and security.” For its part, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman, the only Gulf country that maintained diplomatic relations with Syria, which Al-Muallem visited during the years of conflict, expressed its “condolences and condolences on his death.” The Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, also offered his condolences in a telegram to his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Al-Assad.

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