UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Syria has complained to the United Nations that U.S. Senator John McCain, former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and former U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith entered the country without visas in separate visits in violation of its sovereignty.
Syria’s U.N. ambassador, Bashar Ja’afari, called on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the 15-member Security Council to pressure governments to take “the necessary measures against their nationals who enter Syrian territory illegally.”
“Such actions are a blatant violation of Syria’s sovereignty and of the resolutions of the Security Council concerning Syria,” Ja’afari wrote in a letter dated Dec. 30 and seen by Reuters on Monday.
He complained generally about “certain journalists and prominent figures” entering Syria illegally but singled out McCain for entering Syria in June 2013. McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate, visited Syria in May 2013 and met with some Syrian rebels, his spokesman said at the time.
Ja’afari also cited Kouchner for visiting in November 2014, Galbraith for traveling to Syria in December 2014 with other U.S. political and military leaders, and former Kuwaiti politician Walid al-Tabtaba’i for entering Syria in September 2013.
In response, McCain said in a statement: “It is a sad but unsurprising truth that the Assad regime is less concerned with its massacre of more than 200,000 men, women and children than it is my visit with those brave Syrians fighting for their freedom and dignity.
“The fact that the international community has done virtually nothing to bring down this terrible regime despite its atrocities is a stain on our collective moral conscience,” McCain added.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Leslie Adler