|Deputy Prime Minister of Syria|
23 June 2012
|Prime Minister||Riyad Farid Hijab
Wael Nader al-Halqi
|Preceded by||Abdullah al-Dardari|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates|
14 April 2011
|Prime Minister||Adel Safar
Riyad Farid Hijab
Wael Nader al-Halqi
|Preceded by||Himself (as Minister of Foreign Affairs)
Joseph Sweid (as Minister of Expatriates)
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
21 February 2006 – 29 March 2011
|Prime Minister||Muhammad Naji al-Otari|
|Preceded by||Farouk al-Sharaa|
|Succeeded by||Himself (as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates)|
|Ambassador of Syria to the United States|
1 January 1990 – 31 December 2000
|Preceded by||Rafic Jouejati|
|Succeeded by||Rustum Al-Zubi|
|Born||Walid Mohi Edine al Muallem
January 13, 1941
|Political party||Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party|
Early life and education
Walid Muallem was born into a Sunni family on 13 January 1941 in Damascus. He received primary and secondary education in public schools from 1948 to 1960. Then he obtained a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Cairo University in 1963.
Muallem is a member of the Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. Muallem began his career at foreign ministry in 1964 and served in Syrian missions to Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Spain and England. He served as Syria's Ambassador to Romania from 1975 to 1980. Next he became the head of authentication and translation department at the foreign ministry in 1980 and his term ended in 1984. Later he served as the head of private offices department from 1984 to 1990. After serving as Syria's ambassador to the United States from 1990 to 2000, Muallem was named as assistant foreign minister in 2000. He was appointed deputy foreign minister in 2005 and given the Lebanese file by president Bashar Assad.
He was appointed as minister of foreign affairs on 11 February 2006 during a cabinet reshuffle in which his predecessor Farouk al-Sharaa became vice-president. Muallem stated in August 2006, "I am ready to be one of Hassan Nasrallahʹs soldiers." He also stated that Syria has a special relationship with Iran. He was involved in Israeli-Syrian negotiations, both before and during his tenure as foreign minister.
Syrian Civil War
Early on in the Syrian Civil War, Muallem held frequent press conferences with Syrian media and Arab outlets. In August 2012, Muallem gave his first interview with a Western journalist since the start of the civil war, in English, saying that the United States slogan of "fighting international terrorism when ... supporting this terrorism in Syria" and stating the government's position that the United States was "the major player against Syria" as it sought to contain Iran. He denied the existence of the Shabiha, pro-government, paid militiamen alleged to have committed atrocities early on during the civil war while blaming 60% of Syria's violence on Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia "with the United States exercising its influence over all others".
In October 2012, after United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged Syria to show compassion in light of the growing humanitarian crisis, Muallem spoke at the United Nations and blamed the United States, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar for "aid[ing] terror" and "blatant interference" in Syria's affairs, mainly by supplying rebel groups with arms and money calling for Bashar al-Assad to step down. He called Western concerns over chemical weapons use "a joke" and a pretext for an Iraq War-like campaign. Later that month, Muallem also rejected calls by Ban to declare a unilateral ceasefire, insisting that governments that "finance, train and deliver weapons to the armed groups, notably Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey" be stopped. In December 2012, he further blamed United States and European Union sanctions for the suffering in Syria.
In January 2013, after United Nations and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said Bashar al-Assad should not take part in a transitional government, Muallem called on opposition groups to join a new cabinet under al-Assad, so long as they "reject foreign intervention."
In January 2014, Muallem participated in the Geneva II Conference on Syria at Montreux. He described the opposition as traitors and terrorists in his initial speech. Despite the conference rules permitting only ten minutes to each speaker, Muallem talked for over forty minutes before finishing and repeatedly ignored Ban Ki-moon attempts to conclude his speech.
Muallem is married and has three children.
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- Robert G. Rabil (2006). Syria, The United States, and the War on Terror in the Middle East. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-275-99015-2. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
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- "Syria. Brokering Hate on Israel's Border" (PDF). American Jewish Committee. August 2006: 12. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Interview: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem". Foreign Policy. 10 June 2009.
- Mukkaled, Diana (3 December 2011). "Walid Muallem: A mistake or a masterstroke?". Al Arabiya. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- Fisk, Robert (28 August 2012). "Exclusive: 'We believe that the USA is the major player against Syria and the rest are its instruments'". Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "States backing Syria rebels 'aid terror' - Walid Muallem". BBC News. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Ban Urges Syria to Show 'Compassion' to Its People". Nahar Net online. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "U.S. wants to repeat Iraqi chemical weapons scenario in Syria: Muallem". Al Arabiya. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Damascus rejects UN chief call for unilateral ceasefire". The Daily Star. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Muallem Says 'Sanctions behind Syrians' Suffering'". Naharnet. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Syria crisis: Foreign Minister Muallem calls for talks". BBC News. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- BBC News - Syria Geneva II peace talks witness bitter exchanges
- ‘It took me 12 hours to get here!’ Syrian FM bickers with Ban Ki-moon - Al Arabiya News
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs official government website
- "Fresh Light on the Syrian-Israeli Peace Negotiations", Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. 26, no. 2, Winter 1997, interview
- "States Backing Syria Rebels 'Aid Terror' – Walid Muallem". pandith. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
|Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Syria