"Today we are satisfied in Syria for the efforts exerted by President Sarkozy as to bolster relations between France and the Arab World on the bases of reciprocal respect, joint interests and continued dialogue" declared His Excellency President Bashar Al-Assad in a joint press conference with His French Counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, following the Syrian French Summit in Damascus, September 3rd, 2008.

"France is a very important country in Europe, and is the current EU President for the coming few months. We have always called for an active European role in the causes of the Middle East. We fell happy today for the return of this role, following an absence for several years, through the new dynamism of the French policy, whether as far as the causes of the Middle East, or as far as other causes in other zones of the world," added President Al-Assad.

 His Excellency President Bashar Al-Assad made it clear that his talks with President Sarkozy of France were ‘frank’, and ‘constructive’, where many issues during which were discussed including Middle East Causes, stability, and the indirect peace negotiations between Syria and Israel in Turkey. "We have made an evaluation of the said negotiations status whereabouts and the future prospects for this process- the Syrian-Israeli indirect negotiations process- as well as the French role of which we have talked during my visit to Paris nearly two months ago." H. E. added noting that his talks with President Sarkozy touched also upon the issue of the Iranian nuclear file and other issues to be ,perhaps, talked of later on, in another joint press conference following the would be held tomorrow Quartet Summit.

His Excellency President Al-Assad noted that an Economic French Delegation is accompanying President Sarkozy, and is due to meet Syrian counterparts and officials for the signing of joint memorandum of understanding.

" We have also discussed the issue of bilateral relations between France and Syria, boosted immensely following my visit to Paris," said His Excellency President Al-Assad asserting that the said visit and the one made today by the French President have restored glitter to the Syrian French relations creating atmospheres of confidence and trust between Syria and France.

In reply to a question regarding the nuclear issue pertaining to Iran, His Excellency President Al-Assad reiterated that Syria, and for many years, has been calling for freeing the Mideast from Mass Destruction Weapons; "In 2003, Syria submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council for the non-proliferation of Mass Destruction Weapons freeing the Mideast region from such weapons" voicing disappointment over the shelving of this draft resolution. President Al-Assad pointed out that Syria is very interested as to build confidence between Iran and the countries concerned with the nuclear issue of Iran, so that the Iranian program is proved as being for peaceful purposes and never a military one.

In reply to a question regarding tomorrow’s Quartet Summit, His Excellency asserted that the Quartet could  never be viewed as ‘policy of axes’, which is never to be as ‘our objective’ saying that the Quartet has important issues to tackle like that of peace and stability, in which Syria, France, Qatar and Turkey are very much interested. 

In reply to a question related to the indirect peace negotiations between Syria and Israel, His Excellency President Al-Assad said “We have asked, in this phase – of the negotiations- President Sarkozy to support the phase of the indirect negotiations, hence they are the only way for direct negotiations,” likening the underway indirect peace negotiations with Israel to the construction of a building; “We can not construct a building without the presence of strong foundations. Currently, we are in the stage of laying the foundation stones down; that means firstly confidence among the parties of the peace process, and secondly the basics and terms of reference, upon which direct negotiations to depend. Once we have prepared these factors or elements, we would be able to move forward to the direct negotiations, which need the presence of the United States of America, along with the other parties participating in sponsoring the process of peace. Then, we can say that the sponsors of the peace process are the USA, France, Turkey, of course, as a fundamental country, and any other country interested; this is a very good thing to have the number of the countries interested in the process of peace increased.” concluded His Excellency President Al-Assad.

The Syrian French Summit talks dealt with the bolstering of bilateral relations between Syria and France at all levels, especially at the political and economic ones. His Excellency President Bashar Al-Assad and H. E. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France discussed the conditions in the Middle East, with particular focus at the condition in Lebanon, Iraq, the occupied Palestinian Territories, and the ongoing efforts for the realization of peace in the region, including the indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel with the mediation of Turkey. 

Presidents Al-Assad and Sarkozy underlined the importance of the reactivation of the European role in general, and the French in particular as to find just solutions for the region problems, implementing dialogue as the sole way for sorting Mideast crises out, in a way that secures the interests of both Syria and France, as well as the interests of the countries that seek security, peace and stability.

 

The Syrian Vice-President Mr. Farouk Al-Sharaa, Foreign Minister Mr. Walid Al-Mou’alem, Minister Buothaina Shaa’ban the Advisor of President Al-Assad for Political and Media Affairs, attended the Summit talks between Presidents Al-Assad and Sarkozy. Foreign Minister Assistant Abdulfatah Amora, the Presidency Secretary General Mansour Azzam, and the Syrian Ambassador to France Mrs. Lamyia Shakour were also present from the Syrian side at the Summit Meeting. 

Edited & Translated by

Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

Rome, September 3, 2008

 

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