''The Process of Peace in the Middle East has its Terms of Reference: Madrid Terms of Reference, which stipulate the implementation of the Security Council Resolutions; the Israeli Government has to declare their acceptance of these Principles, and the adoption of the said Terms of Reference would re-launch the Process of Peace,'' declared His Excellency President Bashar Al-Assad to the French ''Le Figaro'', citing the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative of Beirut, in demonstration of Arabs desire for the realization of Mideast Peace, not to mention the Syrian repeated calls for the resumption of peace talks, and the Turkish desire to play the role of mediations.
''We always speak of a European role as far as the Causes of the Middle East. France, historically taking the political leading role in Europe, has to move as far as Mideast Peace,'' said His Excellency added in an interview given to the French Daily, Le Figaro, November 13, 2009.
In reply to a question related to Syrian expectations from President Obama of the USA, H.E. said: ''The USA is the biggest power in the world, playing a role all over the world, with no exception. Consequently, it is able to do more than others. The first of our expectations from this Administration was related to the issue of peace. We have witnessed the beginning of a move within this frame, received Mr. Mitchell, started a dialogue about the issue of the peace; this dialogue was no more than views exchange, no common vision reached to, there was no executive plan,'' asserting that the Syrian-US relations have been slightly improved, but have not reached to the level of confidence re-building, which makes it difficult to move forward as far as the issue of Mideast Peace, given the fact that the US is the main sponsor.
Regarding the Israeli piracy against a ship claimed by Israel to carry Arms to Hezbollah, His Excellency blasted the illegitimate Israeli piracy in violation of the International Law, wondering whether Israel has the United Nations Authorization and Mandate to carry piracy operations in the high seas! ''We have no information whether there were to be arms directed to Hezbollah. Does Israel have the right to freely take Arms from America and Europe! if the Arms were to be prohibited for others in the region! Where is the proof that arms were shipped to Hezbollah or to the State; every State has the right to buy Arms; it is part of every State sovereignty how the Arms end. This is but part of the Israeli repeated lies.''
H.E. reasserted the Syrian satisfaction as far as the situation in Lebanon, after the many Syrian calls for the formation of the recently formed National Unity Government in Lebanon, ''in the absence of division in Lebanon, it is easy for Syria to construct normal relations with Lebanon,'' underlined H.E. President Al-Assad.
In reply to a question about Iran and the western proposals regarding the nuclear file, H.E. President Assad said: ''There is no proof whatsoever that Iran is carrying out a military nuclear project. Even from a scientific point of view, the level of enrichment to which Iran has reached is very far from the military level. Furthermore, the Non-Proliferation Treaty guarantees for every State the right to enrichment,'' pointing out to Iran's flexibility and acceptance to gradually send- abroad-and-retake some Uranium quantities for enrichment, while the Europeans have offered Iran no guarantees, insisting that Iran should hand them over all of the Uranium!
In reply to a question about the Frenchwoman Clotilde Reiss, His Excellency pointed out that President Sarkozy raised the issue with him last summer, and she was moved to the Embassy out of Court or jail: ''This is also a flexible stance by Iran, and the issue has to be dealt with as a judicial one, and not as a political one. The political side would help; but through a good relation with Iran, and this is what I would give advice to do,'' said H.E. President Al-Assad.
In reply to a question related to Syrian-EU Association Agreement, His Excellency President Al-Assad disclosed that he, five years back, informed Mr. Romano Prodi the then EU Commission President, about some points to this effect; ''I think that both sides-Syria and EU- are not yet ready for this Association. For us, and from the administrative and economic side, we are badly in need for some development; so as to make the disadvantages less; not to mention the fact that the European subsidy in the proposal does not suffice to support us in the process of development. Further, there are some technical aspects in the Agreement, upon which we do not agree. The Syrian Government, however, are now studying this Agreement; and are to put the things which the Government believe should exist, and are not existed, and then these points are to be presented to the European Commission.''
Edited & Translated by
Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim
Rome, Italy, November 13, 2009.