His Excellency President Bashar Al-Assad reiterated that Syria always wants dialogue, pointing to the wide prospects for the Syrian-French cooperation regarding all of the region issues; hence the interest is joint for both countries as well as for the Middle East, and Europe.
Interviewed by the French TV Channel 3, September 2, 2008, on the eve of President Nicolas Sarkozy visit to Damascus, President Al-Assad appreciated President Sarkozy’s objective since H. E. came to the helm of power in France, regarding stability in peace issues, Lebanon, … noting that the President of France wants an important role to be played by France in solving all issues, not to mention his desire that Europe would play a similar role to this effect.
In reply to a question regarding the would be soon held Quartet Summit between His Excellency President Bashar Al-Assad, H. E. President Sarkozy, His Highness the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, and H. E. the Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Al-Assad said the Summit, for sure is " in the essence of the work for stability, and for the having of a fundamental role for Europe through France, a fundamental role for the Arab Countries through Syria and Qatar. Syria is the now the Arab Summit President, Qatar is the Present of Gulf Cooperation Council, France is the European Union President, and Turkey is the only country which was able to re-launch Mideast Peace Process, even though through indirect negotiations."
In reply to a question regarding the Syrian –French relations and Lebanon, H. E. President Al-Assad blamed the policy pursued by the former French President, Jacques Chirac, as playing a negative role not helping for the establishment of normal relations between Syria and Lebanon, while praising the current Sarkozy Presidency Administration as ‘ practical, pragmatic, and realistic, resorting to dialogue, seeking the stability for Lebanon, knowing that the stability in Lebanon is necessary for the stability in the Middle East"
In reply to a question concerning peace negotiations between Syria and Israel, His Excellency President Al-Assad said "We are in a preparatory phase for direct peace negotiations; once we reach to the direct negotiations, we can say that we are coming closer to peace. For now, we can say that we have opened the door for peace and have given a bigger opportunity for the realization of peace."
In reply to a question regarding Syria’s concern over an imminent Israeli attack against Iran, President Al-Assad said " we hold the belief that Israel seeks for a war , perhaps on more than a front; perhaps the priority for Israel is Iran, and perhaps the other priority is Lebanon. We even do not exclude Syria, considering that Israel did previously attack Syria."
"Such a war, whether launched by Israel or by another side, would lead to huge catastrophic consequences; not only for the region, but for the entire world in general. We do hope that such a war were never to break out. We, however, would remain concerned during the coming months that there is a planning for such act." added President Bashar Al-Assad
President Al-Assad outlined that his talks with His French Counterpart, Sarkozy, would touch upon different regional as well international topics, including those pertaining to Mideast Peace Process, Iran Nuclear issue, Caucasus condition.
Edited & Translated by
Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim
Rome, September 2, 2008.