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Syria’s veteran foreign minister Walid Moalem dies

CAIRO/AMMAN: Syria’s top diplomat and long-time foreign minister Walid Al-Muallem, a staunch defender of Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters that sparked a decade old conflict, has died, state TV reported early on Monday.

There were no details on the cause of death, but the 79-year old had for years been in poor health with heart problems.Al-Muallem was first appointed foreign minister in 2006 and also held the post of deputy prime minister. The veteran diplomat saw his country’s tilt further toward Iran and Russia, which have helped shore up Assad’s rule and allowed the authoritarian leader to regain most of the territory he once lost to insurgents.

News source ~ Arab News