''We had reform in Syria. It started mainly after 2000, in the year 2000. Some people think it was slow, some people think it was too fast, this is subjective, not objective, but we were moving in that regard. But the proof that it wasn’t about the reform, because we made all the requested reforms after the crisis started five years ago, and nothing has changed. So, it wasn’t about reform. We changed the constitution, we changed the laws that the opposition asked for, we changed many things, but nothing happened. So, it wasn’t about the reform; it was about money coming from Qatar, and most of the people that genuinely asked for reform at the beginning of the crisis, they don’t demonstrate now, they don’t go against the government, they cooperate with the government. They don’t believe, let’s say, in the political line of this government, and this is their right and that’s natural, but they don’t work against the government or against the state institutions. So, they distinguish themselves from the people who supported the terrorists.''

From President Assad's Interview with the Australian SBS TV, July 1, 2016

''Through these reforms we counter a significant part of this attack and build strong fortifications against regional and international ambitions in our country. Our success depends on our understanding of the requirements of reform on the official and popular levels.''

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (June 3, 2012) 

''This process started with the laws which have been passed and the parties which have been formed and the political pluralism enshrined in the constitution, which has been implemented, and continued through local administration, the referendum over the constitution and the recent elections for the People's Assembly.''

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (June 3, 2012)  

''All this needs administrative reform which puts an end to waste, corruption, nepotism, indifference, and a weak sense of responsibility. We have to bring to account all those who try to exploit this crisis in order to play with people's livelihood. We have to support agriculture as a strategic sector and as a main pillar of stability in our society and in the independence of national decisions while continuing to strengthen and modernize our industry, in addition to supporting small and medium enterprises as a factor of maintaining social balance and as an important tributary to national product and which should form the widest base of our economy, without ignoring the energies which have been exhausted by the current conditions and which have gravely obstructed the development process. They damaged vital projects and led to bottlenecks in providing some materials as a result of the foreign economic embargo, in addition to acts of sabotage by terrorists which targeted the infrastructure which led to a decline in the provision of basic services needed by the population.''

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (June 3, 2012) 

''Through these reforms we counter a significant part of this attack and build strong fortifications against regional and international ambitions in our country. Our success depends on our understanding of the requirements of reform on the official and popular levels.''

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (June 3, 2012) 

''This process started with the laws which have been passed and the parties which have been formed and the political pluralism enshrined in the constitution, which has been implemented, and continued through local administration, the referendum over the constitution and the recent elections for the People's Assembly.''

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (June 3, 2012)  

''All this needs administrative reform which puts an end to waste, corruption, nepotism, indifference, and a weak sense of responsibility. We have to bring to account all those who try to exploit this crisis in order to play with people's livelihood. We have to support agriculture as a strategic sector and as a main pillar of stability in our society and in the independence of national decisions while continuing to strengthen and modernize our industry, in addition to supporting small and medium enterprises as a factor of maintaining social balance and as an important tributary to national product and which should form the widest base of our economy, without ignoring the energies which have been exhausted by the current conditions and which have gravely obstructed the development process. They damaged vital projects and led to bottlenecks in providing some materials as a result of the foreign economic embargo, in addition to acts of sabotage by terrorists which targeted the infrastructure which led to a decline in the provision of basic services needed by the population.''

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (June 3, 2012) 

''In the reform process, there are those who believe that what we are doing now is the way to get out of the crisis or is the whole solution to the crisis. This is not true. We are not doing it for this reason. The relationship between reform and the crisis is limited. In the beginning, it had a larger role, when we decided to separate those who claim reform for terrorist objectives and those who genuinely want reform. This has happened. My vision from the very beginning was that there is no relation between the two, but it wasn’t easy to talk about it then because, as I said, things were not clear for many Syrians as they have become clear now.''

From H.E's  Damascus University Speech, ( January 10, 2012)

 

''What is the relationship between the reform process and the outside plot? Will the outside plots against Syria stop if we introduce the reforms today? I’ll tell you something. We know a great deal about discussions taking place outside Syria, particularly in the West about the situation in Syria. None of those involved cares about neither the number of the victims nor about reforms, neither about what has been achieved nor what will be achieved. Everyone is talking about Syria’s policies and whether Syria’s behavior has changed from the beginning of the crisis till now.''

From H.E's  Damascus University Speech, ( January 10, 2012)

 ''The greatest part of the Syrian people want reform, and they have not come out, haven’t broken the law, haven’t killed. This is the largest part of the Syrian people, it is the part which wants reform. For us, reform is the natural context. That is why we announced a phased reform in the year 2000. In my swear-in speech I talked about modernization and development. At that time, I was focused on state institutions. In 2005, we talked about political reform. Part of what we are doing now was proposed in 2005 in the Bath party conference. At that time there were no pressures in this regard. Pressure was different, in a different direction. No one was talking about internal reform. We proposed it because we thought of it as a natural context not a forced one. It cannot be forced. It is a natural requirement for development. We cannot develop without reform. Whether we were late or not is a different question. Why we were late is a different question. But it remained a natural need. Had reform been part of the crisis, it would fail; and if reform were forced, it would fail. That’s why, in our discussion of reform, let’s separate natural needs from the crisis.''

From H.E's  Damascus University Speech, ( January 10, 2012)

 ''If we start from the current crisis, reform will be abrupt and tied to its current circumstances which are temporary. What about future decades? Things will be different. We have to connect what is before the crisis with what is after it regardless of it and then base our work on the reform process. Of course this is not in the absolute. Sometimes, we take into account what we are going through now in our reform efforts. We don’t separate it completely from the timetable. Sometimes we move quickly. Sometimes we assume that people’s reaction needs a move in a certain direction. There are some impacts of the crisis; but we don’t build our reforms on the crisis. If we do so, we justify foreign powers’ intervention in our crisis under the title of reform. So, let’s agree on separating the two and deal with the details on these grounds.''

From H.E's  Damascus University Speech, ( January 10, 2012) 

  

 

''We started a big workshop to modernize and update media and to broaden its freedom space and  boost its responsibility as we also worked on setting  a draft bill for a new local administration law in addition to giving the Syrian nationality to the Kurds who are registered in the foreign records and forming a committee for studying a new party law,''

From H.E's Damascus University Speech  ( June 20, 2011)

  ''Equality, justice, transparency and honesty are the future headlines which we aspire for our country. We will have a new parliament in August,''

"We want to search for an economic model which suites Syria and achieves social justice,"

From H.E's Damascus University Speech  ( June 20, 2011)

  "The application of the law does not mean to take revenge on those who broke the law, without killing or destruction… the State is like the father and the mother and embraces all based on tolerance and love, not on hatred and vengeance'' asserting that pardoning mistaken people doesn't mean giving up using force when it comes to damage of public interest.''

From H.E's Damascus University Speech  ( June 20, 2011)

  "Achieving reforms and development is not an internal need only, but it is a vital necessity for confronting these schemes; therefore we have no choice but to succeed in the internal project as to succeed in our external one."

From H.E's Damascus University Speech  ( June 20, 2011)

. "I met people from all the spectrums of the Syrian society, demonstrators and non-demonstrators and the truth is that I consider these meeting as the most important job I've ever had as a person in charge despite the frustration and pain in the general atmosphere yet I can say that the benefit was amazing. They showed great love and amity toward me I have never felt before. The meetings were useful, fruitful, clear, deep and comprehensive tackling all issues with no exceptions,"

From H.E's Damascus University Speech  ( June 20, 2011)

  ''The state is able to combat and reduce corruption at the higher levels but in the lower levels, there is an urgent need to find a way for communication which is a task of the committee on combating corruption which has just completed its study on mechanisms of combating corruption,"

From H.E's Damascus University Speech  ( June 20, 2011)

  "I want to stress that the reform process is a complete and absolute conviction for us because it represent the interest of the country and the people's desire… No sane person can stand against the interests of the country or the people",

From H.E's Damascus University Speech  ( June 20, 2011)

  

"What we are currently doing is shaping the future… Shaping the future will be history in the future… This future or history that we make will affect the forthcoming generations for decades… Here lies the importance of the national dialogue and that's why the participation in this dialogue must be as wide as possible,"

From H.E's Damascus University Speech  ( June 20, 2011)

 " The government has taken several decisions that will help improve living conditions for citizens, adding that "At the forefront was decreasing the diesel prices, which was the most urgent demand for the delegations that I met… We hope the result of this decision will be reflected positively in the short run, particularly on the popular category in Syria".

From H.E's Damascus University Speech  ( June 20, 2011)

 "It's very important that we all work on restoring trust to the Syrian economy… This is the most dangerous thing that we will face in the coming stage."

From H.E's Damascus University Speech  ( June 20, 2011)

 "The reform process does not only need legislation to succeed. It succeeds through the institutions because it is not sufficient to simply pass a law. The law needs to be implemented. Syrian institutions need a lot of development. The success of this passage is strongly related to the success of the institutions which will administer these reforms when we start the implementation process. I always say that we should make haste, but we shouldn’t be hasty. Time is of the essence. We need to make haste, but we need results which are useful to our country. We do not want to be hasty and bring about counterproductive outcomes in any issue. That’s why any reform should be based on internal stability and on security." 

From H.E's Speech to the New Government  (April 16, 2011)

 ''In the local level, we have built our policy on the basis of development and openness and the direct contact between the people, the citizens and me, regardless of the pros and cons…I am talking about general principles and regardless of what we have and have not achieved, yet regarding general principles these are the principles of internal policy."

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (March 30, 2011)

 ''The only pressure an official is subject to is the pressure of responsibility caused by people's confidence in him and now the biggest pressure is the pressure of the public national awareness we have seen …it is unprecedented awareness that astonished us as it has astonished us before in many times…all these pressures make us think well of how we could give back…through more development, more reform and more prosperity…through all these.''

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (March 30, 2011)

 "We support reform and the people's living needs. It is the duty of the country.''

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (March 30, 2011)

  "Naturally, staying without reform is destructive to the country, and the main challenge is which type of reform do we want?...a package of measures recently announced have not started from zero point…There are measures which have not been so far announced. Some of them are related to the strengthening of the national unity and some others are related to combating corruption, information, increasing job opportunities…These measures, which we are working on, will be announced once their study will be finished and will be the priorities for the new government.''

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (March 30, 2011)

  "There are no obstacles in reform; there is a delay. Nobody opposes reform; those who oppose it are men of self-interests and corruption. But now there are no real obstacles and I think that the challenge now is what kind of reform we want to achieve. Consequently we have to avoid the subjugation of the reform process to temporary circumstances which might be transitory, as not to reap counterproductive results."

arliament Speech, (March 30, 2011)

 

''As for the promises, I didn't make promises to them, and the reform process in Syria is none of their business. When I first spoke in my oath-taking speech in Syria, I didn't speak of promises, I spoke of a vision. I was speaking about how I view Syria. As for promises, I made no promises, to be precise about terms. Anyway, whether we call it a promise or a vision or anything, such matter is raised inside Syria. All that I raised was a one hundred percent Syrian vision. The reform process in Syria is not the business of any country in the world. We don't care about their opinions. We don't care about their assessment. We aren’t interested in praise. In this issue, both praise and dispraise are considered interference in internal affairs."

From H.E.'s TRT TV Interview(October 6, 2010)

 "As for Syria, no doubt things have changed. Of course, everybody has his/her point of view regarding the form and speed of reform. In the end, assessment is self-made. You can't reach a result because views will always differ, and this is normal. What's important is that we have started a dialogue which has expanded. We have started steps. We as a country believe, as we shoulder responsibility for any fault that might occur in the reform process, that it is important to speed up the reform process as quickly as possible with less negative effects or consequences… We are walking gradually, and undoubtedly there are internal obstacles in Syria we take responsibility for. There are also external obstacles caused by the political conditions we went through. What's important is that we are walking forward. It's not true we are walking quickly. I don't think we are walking quickly, but it's not true we are standing still."

From H.E.'s TRT TV Interview(October 6, 2010) 

 

“We in Syria today are witnessing an all-out economic reform phase based on trade liberalization, private sector increased role, investment climate betterment, enabling he Syrian market of foreign competition. We have not resorted to the principle of a shock; rather, we have resorted to the principle of a step-by-step economic reform in line with the Syrian Economy nature, taking into consideration the social factors. We have never thought about economic gains against social losses, which, in turn, would lead to economic loss. That is why; we are perhaps among the few countries damaged by the economic crisis. We might not be the fastest as far as development; our development steps are, however, stable and well-calculated.”

From His Excellency’s Statements during Austria visit, (April 28, 2009)

 “We have to continue the bolstering of our steadfastness basics through the solidifying of our interior front, especially in light of the standing financial crisis, which has consequences on all world countries,”

 From His Excellency directives at the National Progressive Front Meeting, (April 7, 2009)

  “We have our national interest deeming the strict application of law. We now have a process of reform with its priorities. What a person would do once he/she wakes up every morning? He/she has first to eat, drink, feed his children; second, he/she needs a good health system; thirdly, he/she needs work and a school. These are the basic matters and are our priorities too. After this comes political reform. If Man is unable to live, value exists neither for eating nor for political reform. First we have to be stable; therefore the priority was for stability.”

 From His Excellency Assafir Daily Interview, (March 25, 2009)

 

“I always calculate steps: evaluate, estimate, and them move to the next step. I work in light of the reality with reason and precision. I do not seek the applause of the West. Even when the Occident gives me standing ovation, I tell them that it is none of their business. We never accept the interference of others, whether positive or negative. We carry out the reform for ourselves. We go forward  in a long process that would take long time, would never be quick as far as the political side is concerned,”

 From His Excellency Assafir Daily Interview, (March 25, 2009) 

“We never stopped the reforms. The pace was much slower, that is true. But now that we are less affected by the difficult international circumstances, the pace will pick up. For example by expanding the political participation, having another Chamber in addition to the Parliament, like a Senate, with a legislative role and freely elected, to give more space to the opposition; then, liberalizing more the political media and the Internet to promote dialogue, and finally a law for the political parties. But all that will come about gradually, at or own pace.”

 From His Excellency La Repubblica Interview, (March 18, 2009) 

“Reform is an all-out process including all of the political, cultural, economic and social levels. However, there are priorities in light of the more urgent needs for the citizens, and the speed of such reforms,”

 From His Excellency Al-Khaleej Newspaper Interview, (March 9, 2009)

  “For a hungry man, the priority is eat, our priorities are to secure health, school needs for our people and the like,”

 From His Excellency Al-Khaleej Newspaper Interview, (March 9, 2009)

 “We are moving ahead – on the way of reform- certainly we do not walk quickly, I am not that kind of persons who are rash,”  

 From His Excellency Al-Khaleej Newspaper Interview, (March 9, 2009)

 “The public sector is a very big one in Syria; we have supported the private sector; but never at the expense of the public one. A big part of the Syrian Economy depends upon the public sector. The public sector has its social role; we would never carry out any economic liberalization at the expense of the social role,”

 From His Excellency Al-Khaleej Newspaper Interview, (March 9, 2009) 

   

“It is applied in a number of countries, Germany among them. This economy is supposed to prevent monopolies and profiteering so that the poor, or those of limited income, are not excluded from the social and economic framework. The role of the state is exercised in the social sphere, and there are special funds to protect the financially-disadvantaged. Various funds have been established to benefit the various levels of society. We are now at the beginning of this experiment and in a transitional phase. We have been confronted by the [economic] siege and regional events that are not favorable to investment, in addition to other difficulties such as the increase in international prices which have harmed poor countries in general, and we have been affected by it. “

 From His Excellency Monday Morning Interview, (September 30, 2008) 

“It’s a challenge confronting the state. We can’t say the citizens have not benefited and that the advantages of this policy have not been generalized. The big challenge lies in finding how to enable the largest part of the population to benefit. This depends on the development of the mechanisms of governance and the struggle against corruption.”

 From His Excellency Monday Morning Interview, (September 30, 2008)

 “We have taken wide-scale measures to combat corruption and we have had great successes in this respect. But the true reform will be achieved when we improve administrative practices, and at that moment corruption will diminish. It is a permanent war against corruption in favor of the law, order and the public interest. “

 From His Excellency Monday Morning Interview, (September 30, 2008)

  “The private sector has taken great steps forward, but there has been no fallback in the public sector, which has a fundamental role in political and economic terms. It must continue in order to safeguard political and economic stability in Syria. That is why the matter of privatization will not be broached in Syria. And if we place the political aspect to one side, we can say that it is not suitable from the economic point of view. We envisage a development of the public sector while at the same time supporting the private sector. Practical measures have been taken recently to develop the public sector.”

 From His Excellency Monday Morning Interview, (September 30, 2008)

  “Yes, we have undoubtedly had achievements, and the figures confirm this. The obstacles are no longer the same as in the past. But we are confronting other obstacles that we must eliminate them in various areas in relation to administrative measures. Most of the investments come from Arab sources and they won’t come without an atmosphere of peace in the Middle East. Our preparations and predictions must be in this framework.”

 From His Excellency Monday Morning Interview, (September 30, 2008)

 “When you speak of a process of development, it is not permitted to be satisfied with what has been achieved. Satisfaction causes you to stop midway on the path while everything around you is changing. There are now private media in Syria, and the public media have begun to evolve. There is movement forward which can be slow or rapid. But it is certain that we are progressing in this respect.”

 From His Excellency Monday Morning Interview, (September 30, 2008)

  “We keep moving forward, but with very clear, precise steps. There probably won't be any swift moves. Our goal is stability," hence "Impulsive and badly thought out moves would lead to consequences that are hard to be resolved in the future."  

From His Excellency Statements in France  (July12-14, 2008)

 "The Syrian national strategy has targeted key areas to support opportunity and inclusive growth," adding that the priority of his government was to create a "fertile investment environment.", "Economically, improvements in the taxation and exchange rate system have helped strengthen the economy's fiscal and monetary base," " measures were afoot to set up the country's first stock market and steps like elimination of restrictions on imports, lower tariffs for local manufacturing and increased access to foreign exchange have gradually begun to liberalize trade."

From His Excellency Statements in India (June 18th, 2008)

 “However, all this positive change has not been easy. Our commitment to reform and economic liberalization continues to be tested by the challenges facing our region and its dynamic environment.”

From His Excellency Statements in India (June 18th, 2008)

 “When I said we're going to have reform in Syria when I became president, this means every aspect of reform. You may say the main axes are the political, economic and social – upgrading society in general. Usually you move faster in the most urgent axis and where you can achieve more, where it is faster to move forward. The most urgent in Syria is the economic, because we have poverty; the second one is the political. When you talk about the opposition in the process of political reform,  that depends on the laws. What laws are you going to have, and what circumstances you are living in today in order to have the good result that you are expecting from a good law, not like what happened in Algeria in 1988, when they had good laws, but they did not have good circumstances. So, they have been paying the price till today. Not like what happened in Lebanon. They have full democracy, but they have been moving from one civil war to another, from one conflict to another for more that 200 years. This is not our goal.”

From His Excellency Indian Daily, the Hindu Interview (June 12th, 2008)

 “What happened during the last seven years: I became president in August 2000, two months later the Intifada started, the conflict in Palestine started and has not stopped. It is getting worse everyday. The problem in Lebanon started in 2004. You have 9/11 after one year and we have the war in Iraq, which is the worst, in 2003. All these circumstances affected Syria directly. Usually in such circumstances you have tension, you have more closed minded people, you have more extremism. For example, we started seeing those terrorist attacks in Syria in 2004. We hadn't seen them since the early 1980s in Syria, especially al-Qaeda, who have the same roots as the Muslim Brothers who were in Syria in the 1980s. So, the whole society is affected. This means the whole political process is going to be affected. We used to think that many things would be implemented in 2005. We couldn't so far. And we have all this American pressure. This doesn't mean that we stop. Now we had the first private satellite TV station last year, the first political magazine three years ago, and now we have many private magazines in different fields. We have more freedom in Syria than before. We are moving slowly and cautiously. We have to be very frank and very clear about this. We don't move fast, and we cannot move fast.”

From His Excellency Indian Daily, the Hindu Interview (June 12th, 2008)

 "Syria is trying to overcome the challenges in the investment sector which was neglected for more than 50 years.” “It started to improve the financial, economic and administrative regulations to encourage investments,", “I did not seek to persuade them of the promising investments in Syria as they are aware of the ins and outs of the investment atmosphere there.” “I, rather sought to get acquainted with their proposals and suggestions on ways to improve the administrative aspect of investment and remove the red tape obstacles,", "The Syrian government can not replace private investors, so it has to listen to the suggestions and demands of investors in order to promote joint enterprises between Syrian and Gulf private sector investors.” The Gulf, especially the Kuwaiti, investments in Syria are growing steady,”

From His Excellency Statements during His Kuwait Visit (June 4th, 2008)

 "If anyone had a secret dossier on nuclear facilities in Syria with a Korean role, as they claim, then why did they wait for seven months before destroying a normal military facility by the Israeli raid? Why did they not resort to the UN nuclear energy organization to carry out an inspection?",  "Acquiring nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is an international trend that all countries are rightfully pursuing. In Syria, we want this to be done within an Arab context, which was discussed and agreed during the Arab Summit in Riyadh."

From His Excellency Statements during His U A E Visit (June 3rd, 2008)

 “This issue needs an approach and never takes place through rushing up and enthusiasm; the issue of corruption is not to chasing people and shot fire against them, etc.. It is a complex deep rooted operation which needs rational tackling starting with the reform of Administration System in Syria and of course from selecting the persons for the highest levels. We in Syria have achieved success at the higher level. There was more corruption at the higher level; now at the level of the higher leadership it is less. The most difficult corruption related to the low levels, it is small, repeated, and plenty.”,  “ Fighting corruption without institutional reform is useless. … I encouraged Syrian mass media to uncover and expose corruption. When media talks about corruption, the citizen would see things unseen before.”

 From His Excellency Interview given to the Qatari ‘Al-Wtan’ Daily  (April 27th 2008)

   “Our ambitions are big. Undoubtedly, there are negligence; but, undoubtedly, there are accomplishments. The real evaluation is ever for the citizen, because he/she lives the problem, and on whom the problem is reflected. I can not evaluate this issue as the Syrian citizen can. My job is to present the real picture to the citizens so as to sort these different aspects.”

 From His Excellency Interview given to the Qatari ‘Al-Wtan’ Daily  (April 27th 2008)

 “We have to pursue the process of domestic reforms which meet our national and growth needs, and complies with our cultural facts. We should never take it easy as not to reject any form of interference in our affairs under whatever titles, and regardless of whatever means implemented. The Experience of the past and today point to how much the price was heavy as to impose change from the outside , and how much the price was heavy to impose political or economic pre-fabricated formulas upon the developing countries.”

 From His Excellency Opening  Speech of  20th Arab Summit  (March29th 2008)

"As far as the educational and cultural levels, ahead of us lies a lot of work in the face of the dangerous foreign cultural attack influencing the belonging of our youth generations to their mother national culture. The basic to this effect is to work as to strengthen the Arab Language at the national level as the basis bearer of our culture, belonging, and memory; the loss of our language means the loss of history, consequently the loss of future. Before the Summit, there is the project as to link the Arab Language to the society of knowledge; so that our language is the language of culture and life preserving our existence safeguarding our civilized identity."

From H.E. President Al-Assad Damascus Arab Summit speech, march 29, 2008.

  

“Syria has been integrated with the course of World Economy following her  preparation of the political, economic, and social ground for a new phase of Development and growth.” “We have taken big strides for a comprehensive reform of the legislations, renewal of infrastructure, as to bolster the ongoing economic opening and investment climate in line with the Economy of Social Market Strategy. The Syrian Private Sector involvement in the development process has led to an important influence in all the so far accomplished results; where the growth rate per year is higher  increasingly, investments and trade exchanges redoubled, and where the Industrial Zones were constructed.”

 From H.E. Statements during the Visit of the Kazakh President  ( November 6 2007) 

" Firstly, We have our priorities which are based on the most dire needs of the Syrian citizen. Secondly, it- the process of Reform and Modernization- depends on the possibility of achieving progress in a track before another track. The first priority was the economic one as to improve the citizens living standards; the second priority is the political one related to elections laws, especially local administration and parliamentarian elections and to political parties….We have initiated this process; with my election to the presidency, the Intifada started in the occupied Palestine, pressures on Syria, because of its support to the Intifada, started. The 11th of September took place with that Arabs have had to pay as the price; the Arab weakness has started in reality after this stage and not lately; and the invasion of Iraq took place. From here direct pressures with an excessive amount against Syria came. The consequences of the occupation resulted with an increase of extremism and the start of terrorist acts, which disappeared from Syria for decades and began to take place after the invasion of Iraq. Thus, the priority for us has become also to preserve the stability in Syria, as the first priority, where the economic priority has become the second, and the political one the third…. How can we build a good economy without stability? We, however, have made economic strides: the growth rate was in 2000 less than 1 percent and became 6,1 last year notwithstanding though of the political circumstances."

From H. E. ’s Al Shirouq Daily Interview  ( October 11, 2007) 

“The preservation of security and tranquillity, the safeguarding of stable life are the pillars national sovereignty, dignity, prosperity, and development,”

From HE’s Second  Presidential Term Inauguration Speech , ( July 17, 2007)

  “The Process of development can never ignore the reality, in which we live , nor turn blind eyes to the surrounding realities, especially those pertaining to the course of our development through history, the cultural, social, conditions and concepts prevailing in our society; which, in turn, form the ground upon which every development is to be based. The changing of such a ground is linked to the extent of our desire and ability to decide the useful and the  not useful of development factors. We have to reinforce the positive factors, which moves forward the process of growth, and at the same time, safeguard and preserve the stability of our society and its internal security.”

From HE’s Second  Presidential Term Inauguration Speech , ( July 17, 2007) 

 “We have constructed scores of industrial  and free trade zones, attained concrete progress in the field of the infrastructure, popular and youth housing, initiated big projects in the fields of power, irrigation, land reclamation . on top of our priorities is to supply the agriculture sector with growth demands, sparing it of negative consequences in light of the pivotal  importance of the agriculture sector for the Syrian economy , national security and food self-sufficiency.”

From HE’s Second  Presidential Term Inauguration Speech , ( July 17, 2007) 

 “We have made several steps as to develop the political structure through the development of our democratic experience towards a larger political participations, enabling all the national potentials to contribute to the national building; where the National Progressive Front (NPF)- grouping all of the 10 Syrian  active  national political parties- Charter has been developed, the (NPF) work activated , opening the door wide before the (NPF) parties, to play their role in leading the country: the parties have issued their special newspapers, opened branches in the governorates, new parties joined the (NPF). The decisions taken by the Baa’th Arab Socialist Party (BASP) 10th regional conference have been the point of reference towards the activation of mass and government performance, and in particular with regard to the  (NPF) 10th regional conference recommendations for  the expanding of political participation.”

From HE’s Second  Presidential Term Inauguration Speech , ( July 17, 2007)

 “The priority is for the economic issue in the light of the Syrian citizens need. And what the economy would value if the stability  were to be missing. Syria during the past years have witnessed some terrorist attacks, foreign interference bids, and pressures; which, all in all, made of stability as the top priority; hence no economy would exist without stability. What political reform value would be without the stability , economy, providing the basic needs for the citizen and his children of health , food, and the like, and security as well,”

From HE’s Second  Presidential Term Inauguration Speech , ( July 17, 2007)

 

 

 "I didn’t invent reform. Reform starts from the challenges that you have. Our reform starts from the challenges, problems, obstacles and complaints before us. If you sit with any Syrian, you’ll mainly hear about the question of better living standards and more jobs. Syria is about 18 million people and 60 percent of them are under 25 years old. 300,000 babies are born every year and 200,000 need jobs every year. The most dangerous challenge for our country is to offer jobs for those young people. Second, the political reform is linked to economic and cultural reforms and to upgrading the whole society. But you need to have priorities. I do not mean by priorities a sequence, where I do the economic reform first then the political and so on, but rather to move in parallel terms. "

From HE’s Interview with PBS TV, (March 30, 2006)

 "We should focus on the economic field first because it can’t wait; people are hungry because there is poverty and people want to make sure that their children go to good schools and that they have a good medical system. People can wait for other fields. In spite of that we are moving in all the fields together. People can wait for other fields. In spite of that we are moving in all the fields together. But what has changed in the last five years? In the first place our priority was economy then politics, but now after 9/11 events and the way they dealt with terrorism our priorities have changed." "First, our priority now is security because in the last two years we started to have more terrorism after we hadn’t seen it for two decades. Second comes the economy and then other fields. Now everybody is worried about their security. This change in priorities is not good for us, and it isn’t something we want but rather something we cannot ignore. This change of priorities won’t stop reform. More important than this is the state of mind. When you talk about democracy for example it is a state of mind to accept the other. When you have terrorism this is based on extremism. When you have extremism and terrorism you won’t have democracy because extremists and terrorists do not accept the other. That is why I said earlier that democracy is about how to accept the other opinion. That is how we were affected by the war on Iraq and the war on Afghanistan. "

From HE’s Interview with PBS TV, (March 30, 2006) 

"This is because they see reform as one word and as one world. There are hundreds and thousands of reforms according to each country. If they understand us and our circumstances and history, they will understand what reform I’m talking about. But when they see me going with reform in a different direction due to my own circumstances and facts, they will think he is talking about reform but going in a different direction. I have my own reform which is different from your reform, and if you are democratic you should accept my reform. That is why they say I am enigmatic, but we invite them to come and see that we are very clear; and I think we are the clearest among the countries of our region."

From HE’s Interview with PBS TV, (March 30, 2006) 

  

  "You have undergone through similar experiences in Turkey, and there was a long march that passed through different stages, in which there were failures. This is natural, because in any movement forward in a big state inhabited by millions or scores of millions, there must be different opinions, different understanding, and performance for those who are convinced with the process. It is also natural that there will be contradiction among all these forces until the state and the society reach a unified concept of the development process. And this needs time, intensive dialogue and benefit from failure. This is natural. But if we say that development should be speedy it is impossible, because this issue is related to the potentials of the country and the political circumstances in the region in general and in Syria in particular. For example, we are now besieged in all things; in technology, even the companies that might help in the process of development process are prevented from coming to Syria.‏‏" ‏

From HE’s Interview with Turkish TV, (December 28, 2005)

 

"We hear from foreign officials that they are keen on the development in Syria, but, in reality, they are against development in Syria. We have to view things objectively and then we will see the process moving, but not speedily as I said.‏‏ ‏ But the important thing is to keep this process moving forward, in short, there might be a slowliness, but not a halt of this process.‏‏ ‏"

From HE’s Interview with Turkish TV, (December 28, 2005)

 "Despite the difficult situation we are going through, we continue to implement our development plans in order to improve the living conditions of our citizens, and in the process of political, economic and administrative reform. We are also going ahead in our anti-corruption campaign and in widening the circle of accountability to involve all those who harm the interests of the people and the country. These pressing regional and international conditions, the challenges associated with them, and also the sorry Arab condition which does not call for optimism, pushes us towards more self-reliance, towards depending on our capabilities in the first place, to invest in our capabilities in a better manner, and to benefit from all patriotic and faithful efforts in the process of reform and modernization. The regional conference of the Baath Arab Socialist Party passed a number of ambitious resolutions which express the concerns and aspirations of our people. We are determined to put them into implementation according to set priorities which take into account the conditions and available resources. The relevant resolutions will be passed in the coming period."

From HE’s Damascus University Speech, (November 10, 2005)

 

"We have to focus on pivotal sections in our society, and young people come at the forefront of these sections. This needs a comprehensive strategy which includes objectives that we want to achieve and clear executive programmes in relation to this vitals sector."

From HE’s Damascus University Speech, (November 10, 2005)

 "The world is moving very fast. And there are challenges produced by these changes. There have been new opportunities for achievement. Since at the heart of these changes lie information, communications and the digital revolution, we have all to work in order to integrate young people into this information age and to provide the integration mechanisms in all our institutions starting from the school, whether material mechanisms like laboratories, the internet, or activating the institutional, educational, cultural and media structures, in a manner that allows for embracing their creative energies and guarantee confidence in their capabilities on which we pin great hopes, because they are the real guarantee for the greatness and progress of our country. "

From HE’s Damascus University Speech, (November 10, 2005)

 "Because when you say reforming, it's not only political reforming. It's the reforming in general, what you mean political, economical, technical, and all the other aspects of reform. So we don't control all these aspects. That's why we have a lot of obstacles to go forward. When you talk about the speed in this plan, regarding this plan, it's a matter what car do you have. You cannot go to fast or very fast in a old car. So you need this new car. What pillars do you have? You should put pillars when you have reform. These pillars constitute the base when you have this building upon this base. If it's not strong enough, it will fall. So these pillars related to our history and to these factors that I mentioned."

From HE’s Interview with CNN, (October 12, 2005)

 

"And we're not perfect. Nobody's perfect. We are going steadily and consistently. Maybe not too fast, but we are consistent, we are committed. And not only the government, the majority of the people support this process. But we still have a long way to go. That doesn't mean we didn't do. We did a lot. We recently started studying modern law for multi-parties in Syria. We have multi-parties, but we're looking for more open law. We had private universities during the last two years. We had private media, private schools, private banking. We had many things we did during the last five years. For me, I don't think it's slow. It's fast. But we always want to be faster, and this is normal, and this is right, and want to achieve more. This is normal ambition.

From HE’s Interview with CNN, (October 12, 2005)

 “Fellow party members, In the past few years we have achieved a great deal in our economic life and our service sector, which has improved the living conditions of our citizens, although we have fallen short of our ambitions. We have also carried out significant financial and monetary reforms, improved the investment environment and passed the necessary legislation in order to accelerate economic and social development. Nevertheless, we have faced numerous difficulties because of the weakness of the administrative structure, the lack of qualified people, and because of the chronic accumulation of these problems. On top of this, international conditions and successive events in our region have had a negative effect on investment and development opportunities where we had hoped for better. What makes us optimistic about the next stage is that a major and important part of the necessary legislation has been passed, which lays a wide base on which to build after we improve procedures and overcome internal constraints. This should be accompanied by choosing qualified, honest people who strongly believe in the national development project we are embarking on.”

From HE’s Speech to the 10th BASP Regional Conference,  (June 6, 2005)

 “Thus, we have ahead of us great responsibilities towards our citizens who aspire to improvements in their living conditions and in public services. This cannot happen without achieving higher growth rates. The only way to realize that is to overcome failures in our performance and address the negative practices which hamper our progress and constrain our reform project."

From HE’s Speech to the 10th BASP Regional Conference,  (June 6, 2005)

  

“Syria has embarked on a promising process of reforms over the past few years of which it hopes to bypass cases of disorder from which Syrian establishments suffer in performance and meeting the growing needs of the citizens and match up with the world accelerating changes around us in terms of sciences, economy and services.”

From HE’s Speech to the Syrian Expatriates  Conference,  (October 9, 2004)

 “This process of development and modernization entails general revision of our plans and mechanisms of work as well as assessment of what we had already achieved and outlining a concerted vision of what we have to fulfil in the future. To modernize our laws and reform the administrative system, including banking, agriculture, economy industry and employment in Syria.”

From HE’s Speech to the Syrian Expatriates  Conference,  (October 9, 2004)

 “The size of work is great as you see its burden is heavy, and costs are deer, particularly under Syria's keenness to achieve building as part of our national independence and fortifying our internal front and persistent seek to improve living conditions and secure social justice which constitutes the basis for the social and political stability; and this means that the reform process cannot be achieved without difficulties and obstacles.”

From HE’s Speech to the Syrian Expatriates  Conference,  (October 9, 2004) 

"Any development process faces difficulties and obstacles, the first and foremost is the lack of understanding of the process by individuals or people who might be with it. The lack of understanding doesn’t mean that they are against it. We moved in several axes, the first is to develop laws and we are still developing many of them. But the most important is to develop the mind, namely upgrading the level of people especially public employees, to make them realize the necessities and requirements of such development. The third is to make people in general understand development."

From HE’s Interview with the Chinese People Daily, (June 21, 2004)


"There are obstacles relating to academic and scientific qualification in certain fields. The first stage witnessed the issuance of laws, now we are at the stage of qualification and sending people to different countries and getting them come back with expertise from developed countries, in order to help us. Many things have been achieved quickly, such as private universities and banks."

From HE’s Interview with the Chinese People Daily, (June 21, 2004)

 

"In the issue of internal reform ,when there is an intervention, it is rejected absolutely. We make a process of development and lead this pocess. I said in the taking oath speech: I have no magic wand , because the position , stand and data are clear. There are shortcomings in many aspects. There is a need for big development. We are going on with the process of development despite all the obstacles, and we are working broadening the participation of citizens in this process."

From HE’s Interview with Al Jazeera, (May 3, 2004)  

 

 "Concerning the reform process in Syria, and if it, at some time, has slowed down, the president said that "some person might think it is slow, another might think it is fast. These are individual evaluations. We should work as fast as possible, with all our efforts and capabilities, provided that we do not create dangers or threats to this reform.” "We, in Syria, are progressing in the process of reform. It is sometimes fast, it is slow in certain areas because of the existence of certain obstacles. We have been moving smoothly, but there are obstacles. We have been able to overcome some, but have not been able to overcome others, but things are moving forward.”

 From HE’s Interview with Greek TV , (December 14, 2003)

 “Great hopes are a positive sign, which means great aspirations. The volume of change, however, is connected to reality and to the course adopted in the making of the change. Here in Syria, we follow the course of gradual change so that we do not make jumps into the unknown. Instead, we always consider steps before we make them, and we always look forward ahead as it is important that we walk towards the final goal in steady steps.”

 From HE’s Interview with Al-Hayat Daily, (November 7, 2003)

  “Any process of change in the world is an act of collision. The problem does not lie in the interests but in the mentality. There is something that cannot be contained in the law. That is the relation between the officials, and the shape of this relation is connected with the mentality. These issues are very important to the success of any process of change. This issue is dependent on the education of the individual and not on the education of the group.”

 From HE’s Interview with Al-Hayat Daily, (November 7, 2003)

 "What some proposed, concerning the so-called latest memo, doesn't differ from what I have presented and continue to present. Initially, I presented it in the oath address, and I continuously present it. Of course, it is natural to see that there are pressing demands for citizens, and this is what we have to seek for as a state.. this is our job.. we must not forget that what happened in Iraq has made many people to worried, which is a natural thing. I am one of those who were affected by what happened in Iraq. This makes us think of how to develop our country. There is no relation between this issue and the issue of the US. ,if we link between the two issues, reform and what happened in Iraq, and that, we cannot think of reform until after having a shock.. this does not deserve reform. Reform is a continuous need.. perhaps, we think at crisis times, but when we want to carry out reform we will not do this in response to what is happening, or out of fear from what is happening.. if we were a top democracy or backward, the Americans don't care. They did not come to Iraq because Iraq was not democratic or to achieve democracy.. As for us in Syria, the cause is not related to persons, it is the cause of general system. there must be development of the system with its sides, the development of the mechanism by which the society is being run. this will help in fighting corruption. We need a proper administrative system, which helps uncover the points of corruption.”

 From HE’s Interview with Al-Arabia TV , ( June 10, 2003) 

  

 

"Having a vision does not mean you can accomplish it within a day or a year...we have a long way to go and a lot of work to do." "We are definitely moving forward. Not fast, but with the necessary speed,"

From HE’s Interview with Reuters, (November 18, 2002)

  

"The pace of our development depends upon the challenges that we must face, which we cannot always influence. For example, we have to deal with foreign powers meddling in our internal affairs."

From HE’s Interview with the Spiegel, (July 9, 2001)

 "Once again, we cannot apply Western standards to development in the Orient. In Germany, you may have a religious Christian party, the CDU (Christian Democratic Union), but it has effectively assimilated itself into the fabric of the country. In return, your history prevents you from having any large nationalist parties. Our experience has shown us that the situation in Syria became stable because the entire society is secular. We must preserve that. "

From HE’s Interview with the Spiegel, (July 9, 2001)

 

''It was difficult to have genuine development in the region as a whole without reaching to peace; development itself could help the realization of peace. We should work for peace as to contribute to and as to push the process of development forward,''. "We are determined to follow up the process of development in Syria. As for the factor of time, it depends on existing capabilities of local means of development and of other means, we use through our friends,''

From HE’s Interview with ' Le Figaro', (June 23, 2001)

 

''You develop things existed by your predecessor'' noting that this ongoing process in Syria does benefit by the enthusiasm of the youth and by the wisdom and direction of the old. "There are certain things realized in the country since coming to the presidency; however, there are other things which weren't realized as we did wish; at the same time, there are things realized better than what we expected,''

From HE’s Interview with ' Le Figaro', (June 23, 2001)

 

    

"Comrades, There are solemn missions waiting and grand challenges facing and we will all, God willing, be as responsible as this historic responsibility be,’’  ‘’ We shall confront challenges and will go together through your trust, love and support for the sake of the accomplishing these missions and surpassing those challenges ,’’

From HE’s 9th Congress of the Baath Arab Socialist Party (BASP) Speech, ( June 20, 2000)

 

Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim