In Damascus, September 4, 2008, a Quartet Summit was held including His Excellency President Bashar Al-Assad the Arab Summit President, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani the Emir of Qatar the Gulf Cooperation Council President, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey , whose is playing an important role in the region playing the mediator role in the indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel, and His Excellency President Nicolas Sarkozy of France the rotating European Union President

In a joint Press conference following the Summit, H. E. President Bashar Al-Assad said "In brief, we have met today for stability through dialogue; there is no stability without the dialogue,", " The central topic for which we wanted to hold this Summit is the stability; the stability means discussing the peace," pointing out to the recently appearing "some light spots at the political panorama, though of the complex picture, which seems at times black concerning the Middle East condition" hoping to proliferate the said ‘light spots’ as ‘ to replace the blackness in the Middle East’. It is for this purpose, underlined His Excellency Al-Assad, that ‘such meetings, and intensively, are held; not to mention the consultations among the officials, at different levels, continuously."

 

His Excellency President Al-Assad pointed out to the recent ‘ big changes taking place in the Middle East, as well as in other posts of the world’ saying "The Middle East problem affects the world, and does affect other burning zones of the world, and vice versa; once such zones witness the more of burning, the condition in the Middle East is more deteriorated," highly appreciating the exerted efforts and roles played by Qatar, Turkey, and France for the realization of Mideast peace and stability.

" His Highness Sheikh Hamad and the State of Qatar are concerned and continuously supportive of the peace process. They might be playing this role far from the limelight and silently. President Sarkozy is very enthusiastic for an active role by France and Europe in the process of peace. France, for sure, is to have a basic role during the phase of direct negotiations. France has an important position in our region, and its role is necessary to help the United States, which, may be because of geography distance, knows less about this region. Turkey is among the few countries which were interested in the process of peace seriously during past years. Turkey is the only country succeeding in re-launching the indirect negotiations under the circumstance when peace was even away from the mere thinking of" underlined His Excellency President Bashar Al-Assad.

“Following four rounds of negotiations, the fifth round was due to be held. However, the resignation of the Israeli delegation big negotiator has led to the postponement of  this round, which was due to decide the course of these negotiations,” said His Excellency President Al-Assad pointing out “ There were points presented by Israel, there is the line of withdrawal presented by Syria. We have defined 6 points in this subject, and posted them as a deposit to the Turkish negotiator. Once Israel would give points by its side to the Turkish side, our positive response to the presented principles from Israel would be deposited to the Turkish side. Then, we would move forward to the direct negotiations once a new US Administration convinced with the process of peace would be there.”

 President Al-Assad made it clear that Syria is waiting the phase of the Israeli elections as to have the future of the ongoing stage defined saying “We need the support of all countries, basically France, Qatar, and Turkey, so that we would be secured that the coming prime minister of Israel would pursue the way which Olmert pursued through the willingness as to fully withdraw from the occupied territories, so that peace would be achieved.”

President Al-Assad reiterated the region need for the comprehensive peace including the Palestinians as well as Lebanon. "It is not suffice to talk only of the Syrian track- of the Middle East Peace Process-; the Palestinian track is very vital to the peace process. We hope for the presence of an international support as to make progress on this track, as not to talk only of the signing of the peace process; but rather to talk about the peace realized on the ground as being among the people, and not only among officials, governments or negotiators,"added President Al-Assad.

 

"Lebanon has been an essential part of today’s Summit talks; we are very satisfied over the positive steps taken in Lebanon, especially following the Doha Conference. The State of Qatar was able through the strenuous efforts as to push away the specter of war from Lebanon," said President Al-Assad citing the importance of the dialogue among the Lebanese parties, under the patronage of the President of Lebanon, Michel Suleiman, whose recent visit to Damascus was a great success by all accounts; and during which it was agreed on the establishment of diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon; "the legislative steps to this effect are underway; once these steps would have been finished , there would be ambassadors between both countries" declared President Al-Assad.

"We have talked of the issue of the Iranian nuclear topic; our viewpoint has ever been the solution through peaceful means," added His Excellency Al-Assad pointing out that the Quartet Summit talks touched also upon the situation in Caucasus: " We do not want another international conflict field. We do support President Sarkozy’s initiative through his direct relation with President Medvedev of Russia, hoping that it would lead to the achievement of tranquility and to restoration of peace to the Caucasus region. We also support the initiative of Turkey pertaining to the dialogue in the Caucasus," said President Al-Assad.

" The issue of Darfur was among the important points; there has been a desire by all of us as to witness a solution for this problem soon," said H. E. President Al-Assad pointing out that the Quartet Summit of Damascus discussed, further, the topic of Iraq " There is support for the political process in it. There are some unresolved points, which might not lead to the stability there- Iraq- We hope for a soon to be solution through the national dialogue among the Iraqi brethren," added President Al-Assad.

In reply to a question regarding the US role in sponsoring Mideast Peace Talks between Syria and Israel, His Excellency President Al-Assad said "We have always been talking about the necessity of the US sponsorship for Mideast Peace Process and as to find the guarantees considering its relation with Israel."

Edited & Translated By

Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

Rome, September 4, 2008