'' We agree with what President Obama of the United States has presented with regard to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and with regard to the withdrawal from Iraq. These Causes are, however, very complex; there are big titles, subtitles, and many details. So far, we have just heard of the titles, never heard of a discussion with the parties concerned, including Syria, as far as these details; without of which we can not draw up an execution plan, as to achieve the goal of Peace. The time is not in the interest of Mideast Peace Process; therefore, urgency is necessary. The European role lies here; this is what I have discussed with President Halonen: as not to lose this time, it is of top importance that we have together to move with the European Union, and European Countries, as to use this lost time to arrive as shortest as possible ,with the US Administration,  to the implementation of the Peace Process,'' reiterated His Excellency President Bashar Al-Assad in a joint Press Conference with the visiting President of Finland, Her Excellency President Tarja Halonen, October 22, 2009.

''The most important topic of our discussions is the Peace Process. I have explained- during the talks- the Syrian stance as far as the Process, which has about two decades of time and which is halted for now. I reaffirmed Syria's commitment to this Process, and the popular support for the Syrian Government to pursue the Process of Peace. Further, I have reaffirmed our commitment to the basics upon which the Process of Peace is based, in particular the UN Security Council Resolutions, the Principle of the Land for the Peace, as the Term of Reference established by the Conference of Madrid in /1991/,'' said His Excellency President Bashar Al-Assad.

''The Peace and occupation do not match; the Peace and occupation can never go together within the same State and at the same place. It is impossible to have an occupier country, and working at the same time for the Peace; Israel has to choose whether to be the first- the occupier- or the second- the Peace-. Thus, as to reach to this Peace, we need the Israeli Partner; so that we could find a peace agreement, which accomplishes realistic peace on the ground,'' added H. E. President Al-Assad asserting the Principle of the Land for the Peace to be the sole basic as to achieve the Peace.

In reply to a question about the priorities of Syria, His Excellency President Al-Assad said: ''The priority is to strengthen relations with regional countries, especially with Arab Countries and the neighbouring countries like Turkey. The realization of Mideast Peace is also our priority, establishing relations with the countries interested in the realization of this Peace. As long as Europe is interested in peace, this is also my priority. The same is for the United States, though far from Syria, has a big role, we can not achieve the peace without the participation of the United States, at the end, there is the need for the United States. The priorities are in parallel with the issues; the priority of the relation is in parallel with the priority of these issues; we have the priority as to achieving peace, the priority of fighting extremism, terrorism, of improving economic situation of the people. We have poverty in this region,'' asserting the Syrian desire as to closely cooperate with Europe before the signing of the Association Agreement, considering the fact that the signing of the Agreement is but a technical issue, and the cooperation could take place before the signing of the Agreement, which has to be reviewed.

In reply to another question, H. E. President Al-Assad said '' dealing with whatever nuclear file in any place of the world should not be subjugated to the personal mood of officials, or to a specific political agenda. It should be dealt with in accordance with the Non-Proliferation treaty stipulations. In Syria, we have declared principles as far as nuclear issues, and Mass Destruction Weapons in the Middle East. Syria for long has been calling for the freeing of the Middle East from Mass Destruction Weapons; Syria in /2003/, as a non-permanent UN Security Council member at that time presented a draft law, a project as to free the Middle East from Mass Destruction Weapons; this Syrian project is still in the UN drawers! Due to the lack of support by the basic States for this project, and in contradiction with what they talk about as far as the issue of Iran!'' asserting that any withdrawal of the Iranian file from the UN Security Council to its natural place in the International Atomic Agency might help in solving the issue.

''We, further, discussed the Palestinian issue reiterating the support of Syria to the reconciliation process among the Palestinian parties as to reach to negotiations that would achieve peace on the Palestinian track. We also talked about the siege imposed on Gaza and the necessity as to alleviate the Palestinian suffering in Gaza Strip, as an important point of the important ones to find the Peace on the Palestinian track,'' added His Excellency President Al-Assad.

As for Lebanon, H. E. President Al-Assad said: ''I underlined the viewpoint of Syria regarding the necessity as to speed up the formation of a national unity government in Lebanon that would bring the situation in Lebanon back to normalcy, and would bring Lebanon to its natural role following years of division and unrest.''

His Excellency President Al-Assad reiterated the importance of expanding the Syrian-Finnish relations, with particular reference to the economic fields, hailing the newly-openedFinnish Institute in Damascus as the window through which the people of Syria and Finland are to see each other's civilization, history and culture. Further, H. E. President Al-Assad hailed the Finnish stance in permanent commitment to UN Security Council resolutions, with particular reference to the Finnish stances regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, Mideast Peace realization, the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza, not to mention the stances regarding the 2003 war preparations against Iraq.

''The Peace in the Middle East is still far because of the Israeli rejection of the taken-for-granted Peace Process priori,'' said His Excellency President Al-Assad, during a banquet given in honour of the visiting Finnish President, pointing out that the policy of  Non-alignment pursued by Finland, not to mention the Finnish contributions to the UN security and stability keeping worldwide, including those dispatched in the occupied Golan, enable Finland to be a credible played in supporting World Peace, on to of which is the Peace in the Middle East.


Edited & Translated by

Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

Rome, Italy, October 22, 2009.