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Criticism of Syria vote shows West detached from reality: FM Mekdad

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Syrians cast their ballots at a polling station in Damascus on May 26, 2021, as voting for the presidential election started in the country. (Photo by AFP)

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad says the Western states’ criticism about the presidential election in the Arab country shows they are detached from reality.

Mekdad made the remarks on Thursday, one day after people across Syria participated in the election to choose their president for the next seven years from among three candidates, including incumbent President Bashar al-Assad.

Last week, Syrian refugees and expatriates also cast an early ballot in the embassies of their host countries.

“Syrians at home and abroad affirmed to the world that they themselves decide their present and future and speak through ballot boxes,” Lebanon’s al-Manar TV channel quoted the top Syrian diplomat as saying.

“The statements issued by some Western countries about the election in Syria indicate that they do not live in today's world and are far from reality. Only the Syrians can express their opinions about the poll,” he added.

He was referring to a statement released by the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the United States on Tuesday, in which they claimed that Syria’s presidential election “will neither be free nor fair." 

Assad said Western brickbats “have zero value" as he cast his ballot in the city of Douma near the capital, Damascus.

Syria’s UN envoy hails million-strong turnout in election

Additionally on Wednesday, Syria’s permanent representative to the UN said the massive participation of Syrians in the presidential election affirmed their adherence to the independence and unity of their homeland as well as their rejection of submission to pressure or blackmail.

Bassam Sabbagh said the election process contributes to restoring security and stability to Syria and overcoming the impacts of the decade-long terrorist war.

“In the framework of committing to the constitutional entitlement, the Syrian embassies and diplomatic missions witnessed an unprecedented turnout of Syrians residing abroad to cast their votes, and the polling stations in the Syrian provinces also witnessed today the influx of millions to participate in the election process,” he told a UN Security Council session via video conference.

Deputy FM: Election proof of enemies’ failure to affect Syria’s sovereignty

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Bashar al-Ja’afari emphasized that the holding of the presidential election on its specified date sends a message to the world that the enemies of the Arab country could never affect its sovereignty, national independence and freedom.

Speaking to Austrian media, he said the poll confirms that Syria is committed to implementing the constitution.

He also underlined the need for the removal of unilateral coercive economic measures imposed by the European Union on Syria, saying the sanctions hinder the return of refugees.

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