Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallim, one of the most prominent politicians in the Syrian government, has died. He was considered a loyal supporter of the Assad family and always defended the country’s politics.
Syria’s long-time Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallim is dead. He died on Monday morning at the age of 79, reported the Syrian state news agency Sana. Al-Muallim has headed the Syrian Foreign Ministry since 2006. In 2012, one year after the outbreak of civil war, he was also appointed Deputy Prime Minister.
Most prominent face of the Syrian government
Al-Muallim was next to the ruler Bashar al-Assad the most prominent face of the Syrian government. He was known for his appearances, during which he vehemently defended the politics of his country with a calm voice. The Sunni was seen as an extremely loyal follower of the Assad family, who belong to the religious minority of the Alawis and have ruled Syria for 50 years.
At the same time, Al-Muallim was a sharp critic of the opposition, which he accused of being paid by foreign powers. All international initiatives have so far failed with the plan to achieve rapprochement between the government and its opponents in order to achieve the groundwork for a political solution to the conflict.
In 2014, around three years after the outbreak of civil war, Al-Muallim headed the government delegation at the peace talks in Switzerland. There he did not adhere to the prescribed speaking time at the beginning, despite a warning from the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, whereupon there was an exchange of blows.
After studying economics in Cairo, Al-Muallim joined his country’s diplomatic service in the mid-1960s. In the 1990s he was Syrian ambassador to Washington. Most recently, he appeared at a conference in Damascus last week. In 2014, he had to undergo heart surgery in the Lebanese capital Beirut.