H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad has held a Summit meeting, July 12th, 2008, with His French Counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy. The Summit dealt with different bilateral, regional, and international issues of joint interest. Both Presidents agreed on a work plan as to re-launch bilateral relations on all fields. President Sarkozy has accepted President Al-Assad’s invitation as to visit Syria next September. Both Presidents underlined the importance of the Syrian Israeli track of Mideast Peace Process noting to the achieved progress during the indirect peace negotiations between Syria and Israel with the mediation of Turkey. H. E. President Al-Assad voiced the hope that France and the USA would be able to contribute in a complete way to a future peace agreement between Syria and Israel during every stage of the direct talks, as well as for the implementation of a peace agreement including future security arrangements which might be necessary. President Sarkozy voiced France’s willingness to respond to such a role if both sides show interest to this effect. Presidents Al-Assad and Sarkozy renewed their full support to the implementation of Doha Accord; where President Sarkozy lauded the strong determination of President Al-Assad as to establish full diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon. President Sarkozy pledged, as the current President of the European Council to take every appropriate measure as to get the Syrian-EU Association Agreement signed. Both sides pledged as to cooperate in an active way as to secure the success of the Union for the Mediterranean.

 

" The Doha Accord has put Lebanon on the right course, transferred Lebanon from the verge of civil war to the phase whereby the Lebanese can dialogue among themselves in a political way regarding the future of their country,"

A Quartet Summit gathering H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad, His French Counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, His Lebanese Counterpart, Michael Suleiman, and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar was held at the French Presidential Palace, July, 2008. President Al-Assad described the Summit in a joint press conference, as ‘very important’ ‘in timing as well as in substance’ noting that the talks dealt with the issue of Lebanon in light of the Qatari mediated Doha Accord. " The Doha Accord has put Lebanon on the right course, transferred Lebanon from the verge of civil war to the phase whereby the Lebanese can dialogue among themselves in a political way regarding the future of their country," said President Al-Assad reiterating that Syria has no problem regarding the opening of a Syrian Embassy in Lebanon. "What has been achieved for Lebanon , specially from the signing of the Doha Accord and today, is very important under the sponsorship of the State of Qatar and the Personal Patronage of H. E. the Emir of Qatar. This very important achievement needs the more of support; the president has been elected, the government formed, now there is elections law , the elections, the national dialogue among the Lebanese, as to be confident that the history of Lebanon, which has witnessed many clashes, would never be repeated in the future with no kind of clash." Al-Assad added.

 

"Moving from indirect to direct peace negotiations with Israel depends on how much Israel and Syria are serious,"

 

H. E. President Al-Assad pointed out that the Summit also dealt with the issue of Mideast Peace Process in light of the ongoing indirect peace negotiations between Syria and Israel with the mediations of Turkey saying that the ‘US role in the peace process is very basic, and the European role is very necessary too," calling on His French Counterpart, Sarkozy, to play a direct role in the Syrian-Israeli Peace negotiations, once they were to be moved to the second stage of direct negotiations. "Moving from indirect to direct peace negotiations with Israel depends on how much Israel and Syria are serious," said President Al-Assad asserting the importance of achieving the just and comprehensive Mideast peace comprehensively on the tracks of peace: the Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese with Israel. "Once the occupied land is returned, naturally, a peace agreement is to be signed. We talk of the just band comprehensive peace on all the tracks of peace: the Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian. Such a peace on these tracks is the peace which would achieve the real peace among people following the signature of an accord." reiterated President Al-Assad.

 Regarding Iran, H. E. President Al-Assad said "the solution to this effect, as far as we are concerned, is only a political one; we can never think of any other solution; hence the consequences would be very grave,"reiterating the Syrian demand as to free the Middle East from Mass Destruction Weapons. 

"We have initiated peace negotiations since the 90’s ; have never surrendered our rights, nor would we surrender them now,"

 Interviewed by Al-Jazeera Satellite TV , President Al-Assad reiterated that Syria is never to surrender her sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and that the real peace id the just and comprehensive peace which would return the rights in full undiminished. "We have initiated peace negotiations since the 90’s ; have never surrendered our rights, nor would we surrender them now," asserted the President.

 "We are keen on the creating of a common base as to move to the direct negotiations with Israel. The US role is basic in the peace process; we never reject this role; especially when the US would have a genuine intention to this effect," 

"We are keen on the creating of a common base as to move to the direct negotiations with Israel. The US role is basic in the peace process; we never reject this role; especially when the US would have a genuine intention to this effect," said H. E. President Al-Assad.

 " We are very keen on the unity, and stability of Lebanon; our doors are open for Lebanese with no exception, exerting every possible we can as to make success of the Doha Accord and what has been agreed upon."

 Regarding the Lebanese issue, H. E. President Al-Assad said " we are very keen on the unity, and stability of Lebanon; our doors are open for Lebanese with no exception, exerting every possible we can as to make success of the Doha Accord and what has been agreed upon" noting that the demarcation of borders between Syria and Lebanon is a joint desire and not that of the United Nations. 

" Iran has the right to possess nuclear technology for peaceful purpose; and Iran has never opted out from the International accords in this regard. We have never witnessed any Iranian military activity to this effect" 

Regarding the Iranian Nuclear issue, President Al-Assad said " Iran has the right to possess nuclear technology for peaceful purpose; and Iran has never opted out from the International accords in this regard. We have never witnessed any Iranian military activity to this effect" declaring his intention to convey the European viewpoint in this regard to Iran. 

Once peace is to be reached to between Syria and Israel, President Al-Assad declared "We are ready to establish normal relations with Israel like any normal relations between two countries: embassies, relations, accords" 

"The Syrian-Lebanese relations are distinguished; no country in the world should object to such relations," 

In statements to Belgium TV, T.V. 5, Radio Canada, President Al-Assad said " the Syrian-Lebanese relations are distinguished; no country in the world should object to such relations," asserting that instability in Lebanon would threaten regional security, asserting that Syria has no problem whatsoever in establishing diplomatic relations with Lebanon.

 President Al-Assad reiterated the region need for the just and comprehensive peace as to achieve the more of Euro-Med cooperation, progress, and prosperity calling on Europe, and on France , in particular, to play an active role in Mideast Peace Process realization. 

" Any country that has an interest to settle Mideast problems has to dialogue with Syria,"

"Signing a peace accord with Israel is a question that requires from six months to two years maximum if both parties are serious in engaging direct talks," 

Interviewed by the French TV Channel 2, H. E. President Al-Assad said " Any country that has an interest to settle Mideast problems has to dialogue with Syria" regarding Mideast Peace, President Al-Assad said "Signing a peace accord with Israel is a question that requires from six months to two years maximum if both parties are serious in engaging direct talks," asserting " 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." Underlined H. E. President Al-Assad.

 

,"Israel will pay directly the price of this war. Iran has said so. The problem is not the action and reaction. The problem is that when one starts such action in the Middle East, one cannot manage the reactions that can spread out over years or even decades,"

 

Interviewed by France Inter Radio, H. E. President Al-Assad said that any US attack against Iran "will cost the United States and the planet dear," ,"Israel will pay directly the price of this war. Iran has said so. The problem is not the action and reaction. The problem is that when one starts such action in the Middle East, one cannot manage the reactions that can spread out over years or even decades," added President Al-Assad.

 "This administration is an administration whose doctrine is a warmonger's doctrine. It does not reason with our logic, ours and that of most European countries, most countries in the world," , "We are going to have discussions with our Iranian friends to get to the heart of the issue, to the details. This is the first time that we had been asked to play a role."

 Interviewed by the UAE Dubai TV, H. E. President Al-Assad said “ the only thing which has not been changed is the Syrian Policy; hence the circumstances have never been changed for us in the region; the occupation has so remained, hegemony or bids of hegemony against us and Arab States generally  remained,” noting , however, to a change in the EU-US relations, where there has been a vision for more than a year regarding mistrust in the current US Administration vision.

 “The French President- Mr. Sarkozy- wanted to pursue a pragmatic policy’ which did not mean that we agree on every thing, or on many of the things; it means that in politics we deal with who play an active role,” reiterating that he who wants to play a role in Mideast has deal with the region countries, including Syria and that the policy of ‘isolation’ serves no one.

 Regarding Lebanon, President Al-Assad said “what happened in Doha was a Syrian proposal in basics” highlighting the role played by Qatar in this regard.

 “We always oppose every thing contradictory with our interests; once such a thing changes its course as far as our interests; there is no need to oppose it,” added H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad

 Regarding Mideast Peace Process, H. E. President Al-Assad asserted that Syria has received from the Turkish Premier, whose country, plays the mediator for the indirect peace talks with Israel, informed Syria of the Israeli Premier Mr. Olmert’s pledge to return the Syrian Land occupied by Israel in full to Syria.

 H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad has met His Lebanese Counterpart, Michael Suleiman, in France, July, 2008.H. E. President Al-Assad renewed during the meeting, July 12th, 2008, Syria support for Lebanon in the interest of the Lebanese National interests, security and stability. 

H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad has also meet H. E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar in France, July, 2008. The talks during the meeting, July 12th, 2008, dealt with the Doha signed Accord with the Qatari mediations, where the Emir of Qatar has pointed to President Al-Assad’s full and continued support to the Lebanese Accord. H. E. President Al-Assad highlighted during the meeting the role of Qatar in support of the Lebanese accord and follow up of the Doha Accord implementation in the interest of the Lebanese as well as of all Arabs.

 

During the second day of his visit, H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad has meet for the second time His Lebanese Counterpart, July, 2008.

 

"We insisted that the political aspect should be one of the basic factors in the Union for the Mediterranean. The priority for us is peace; no real economic cooperation is to be achieved without peace" 

The talks during the meeting, July 13th, 2008, dealt with all aspects of bilateral relations between Syria and Lebanon as well as with the region developments. Both Presidents agreed to discuss all the issues of interest for both countries as a bilateral issue during the forthcoming visit of the Lebanese President to Syria in the interest of the Syrian and Lebanese people. President Al-Assad reiterated Syria’s support for the Lebanese national accord and for whatever might bolster the security, unity, and stability of Lebanon. Both Presidents agreed to coordinate all Mideast related issues reaching the objective of the just and comprehensive peace in the region. Both Presidents reiterated support for the Palestinian Unity as the guarantee for the fostering of the Palestinian stand in peace negotiations as to be able to restore their legitimate right and establish their independent state. In press statements following the meeting, President Al-Assad declared that the Syrian Foreign Minster, Mr. Walid Al-Moaa’llem, is to visit Beirut as to convey an official invitation to the Lebanese President, Michael Suleiman, to visit Syria for the deliberation of all issues presented between Syria and Lebanon. President Al-Assad stated that Lebanon has a basic role in Mideast Peace Process noting that the current Summit of the Union for the Mediterranean is part of the Barcelona process, which has not achieved success because of the lack of a serious work for peace. "We insisted that the political aspect should be one of the basic factors in the Union for the Mediterranean. The priority for us is peace; no real economic cooperation is to be achieved without peace" said H. E. President Al-Assad. 

H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad has also meet His Cypriot Counterpar, Dimitris Christofias, July 13th, 2008, the issue of bilateral relations and the region conditions developments. Both Presidents agreed to work as to solve any problem regarding the bolstering of bilateral relations between both friendly countries. President Al-Assad has invited President Christofias to visit Syria. The Cypriot President voiced his country’s support for the Syrian right to restore the occupied Golan asserting the necessity for the Israeli implementation of related UN Security Council Resolutions stipulating the Israeli withdrawl from all occupied Arab territories.

 

Further, H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad has meet, Ban Ki Moon, July 13th, 2008. The talks dealt with the Mideast conditions developments including the indirect peace negotiations between Syria and Israel with the mediation of Turkey. Mr. Ki Moon appreciated the Syrian support for the Doha Accord and the Syrian declaration to go forward for the establishment of diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon. President Al-Assad noted that Syrian Lebanese relations date back to thousands of years and that the basic problem facing both countries is the Israeli occupation of a part of their territories. H. E. President Al-Assad asserted that an end for the Israeli occupation is a very basic matter as to give peace a real chance in light of the issued UN related resolutions. Mr. Ki Moon welcomed the indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel lauding the Syrian stances as clear and principled with the region security and stability. Both President Al-Assad and Ki Moon asserted the necessity for the Palestinian National Accord and its importance for the realization of peace in the region. 

H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad has also meet Turkey Premier, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, July 13th, 2008, the distinguished standing bilateral relations between both friendly States, as well as some regional developments and the indirect peace negotiations between Syria and Israel with the mediation of Turkey. Both sides noted to the importance of concomitance of the political as well as the economic tracks of the Union for the Mediterranean Summit. H. E. President Al-Assad noted that Turkey and France would be the basic part within the frame of moving peace negotiations forwards in the coming stage, once conditions and basics necessary are there, as to move to the direct negotiations between Syria and Israel. 

H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad also has meet Palestinian Authority Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, The talks during the meeting dealt with a follow up of the issues discussed during President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority recent visit to Damascus. Viewpoints regarding Mideast Peace Process were exchanged during the meeting and the recent developments on the Palestinian arena. An assertion was laid on the importance of the National Palestinian Accord in a way that realizes the unity of the Palestinian people and struggle as to regain its rights. H. E. President Al-Assad underlined Syria’s support for the efforts exerted for the inter Palestinian dialogue and preparedness as to achieve this objective. 

Further, H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad has meet the Spanish Premier, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, July 13th, 2008. The talks dealt with the importance of bolstering bilateral relations especially at the economic level. The region developments in the light of the positive developments, especially with regard to Lebanon and Mideast Peace Process, were also dealt with. The Spanish Premier asserted his government support for the Syrian peace efforts and economic development. 

H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad meet also German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. The talks during the meeting, July 13th, 2008, dealt with Mideast Peace Process, the region condition, as well as with Arab-Euro relations.

 

President Bashar Al-Assad, accompanied with the First Lady of Syria, Mrs. Asma Al-Assad’s visit to France has been the main topic and headline news of world press. The visit is viewed as another diplomatic victory for the Syrian leadership on the way of Syria’s search for the just and comprehensive peace, for development, progress and prosperity. President Al-Assad’s participation in the opening of the Union for the Mediterranean Summit as well as in the celebrations of France National Day is viewed by many observers as an international recognition of the President Al-Assad’s pivotal role for stability, security and peace in the Middle East. 

Edited & Translated by

Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

Rome, July 12-14, 2008

 

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