Syria Invites Obama to Damascus Summit 

The President of Syria has issued a historic invitation to his American counterpart Barack Obama, to a summit in Damascus in an exclusive interview with Sky News.

 The President of Syria has issued a historic invitation to his American counterpart Barack Obama, to a summit in Damascus in an exclusive interview with Sky News.

 Bashar al Assad told Sky's Middle East correspondent Dominic Waghorn he wanted to meet the US President on Syrian soil to discuss peace in the region. He asked Sky News to relay the invitation to Mr. Obama.

 When asked when the visit could take place, he said it was up to the Americans to decide.

 Asked if it the meeting could usher in a new era in the region, he said yes, if peace could be secured.

 The invitation is very significant. It moves Syria and the US directly towards detente after years of hostility under the Bush administration.

 “It's normal to have differences between different cultures, between different nations and states. But I think the United States has a special role as the greatest power.” Syrian president Bashar al Assad speaking to Sky News.

 It is a direct response to the olive branch being offered by Barack Obama in recent days, especially his decision to send an ambassador to Damascus for the first time in four years.

 The Syrian President also said he was in favour in principle of renewing indirect talks with Israel, provided the right mediator could be found.

 Mr. al Assad said: "We would like to welcome him in Syria, definitely. I am very clear about this."

Asked whether this could happen soon, the president said: "That depends on him."

 Smiling, he added: "I will ask you to convey the invitation to him."

 He said that "any summit between any two presidents is something positive".

"That doesn't mean you have to agree about everything. But when you discuss, this is how we can close the gap.”

 "It's normal to have differences between different cultures, between different nations and states.”

 "But I think the United States has a special role as the greatest power. I think President Obama should visit as many countries as he can in order to make these dialogues. "And of course that includes Syria." 

He acknowledged that a meeting with the US president would constitute only the first step in a rapprochement.

 "A big change comes when you make actions. An invitation is about dialogue, dialogue is about having common ground, a common vision. Then you have to make a plan then, later, you take action."

 His comments come a day after his British-born wife, Asma al Assad, told Sky News in an exclusive interview that she envisioned welcoming Mr. Obama and his wife Michelle to Damascus.

 She said: "I can see myself hosting them in Damascus in the old town, meeting with people, getting a sense of how we live, who we are and what Syria's about."

 11:00pm UK, Thursday July 02, 2009

 

Google
Web Site

hafez al assad speech