" As you represent the people's conscience, you have a role in maintaining national independence and defending people's sovereignty and facing attempts of foreign interference."
President al-Assad Addresses the 1st Session of the New People's Assembly
Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 10:10 PM
President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday addressed the 1st session of the new people's Assembly (Parliament) in which he congratulated the new deputies for the trust granted to them by the people.
The president expressed high appreciation over the efforts which were exerted by the deputies during their elections campaign for acquainting the people with their ideas, projects and promises. He added that such a legislative establishment has been over a long time a leading example of national struggle and fought the most ferocious struggle against foreign occupation rejecting all forms of hegemony, and attempts to interfere in Syria's internal affairs. He added that the People's Assembly also foiled the policies of pacts which were sponsored by the colonialist powers, and the deputies worked determinedly to protect the national independence ,and to strengthen internal cohesion in the hardest stages experienced by modern Syria.
The president said that it was expected from the people's Assembly to perform in addition to its traditional fundamental tasks in legislating the laws and in controlling the executive apparatuses ,to raise the level of participation in building and developing the homeland by suggesting creative ideas and visions that express the main trend of the public opinion of the society which will serve as a ruler for measuring the extent of the Assembly success in performing its role perfectly particularly in the existence of distinguished qualifications and expertise among its members who represent various social, economic and vocational sectors. The president said that during the past term of the People's Assembly one can say objectively that it had shouldered big responsibilities linked with the nature of the past period and the objective and subjective challenges it contained.
He added that the members of the past term of the people's Assembly exerted tremendous efforts in approving a large number of imperative legislations required by the development process and quick rhythm of progress in which the country is living. The president expressed hope that that the new people's Assembly will play more effective role in the next stage either in presenting ideas or in the monitoring role on the executive establishments and boosting institutional work in the performance and social culture , and to lay down proper mechanism to overcome negative cases in the performance of the government apparatuses and to combat the phenomena of corruption and faults which may surface , and to deter those who harm the interests of the people.
He indicated that in the next stage priority should be given in the approaches to the widest sectors of the masses who are the backbone of the society and main supporters of Syria's steadfastness such as the workers, the peasant and low income people whose living conditions should be improved and interests and gains should be protected as a main basis of social, economic and political stability.
He added that the enthusiastic youths should be given all attention and hope by providing them with proper environment for their progress. He went on to say that steady steps will be pursued in sphere of woman development and in sphere of child's care in order to ensure the growth balance and integrity of the society future . The president indicated that during the past years good levels of economic growth were achieved taking into consideration the hard political circumstances , pushing the living conditions of the citizens a step forward ,and the social services have expanded qualitatively and quantitatively. Particularly in sphere of health , education ,and housing. He added that attention continued to be given to the agricultural sector by providing the necessary requirements of production , and executing the irrigation projects .He indicated that satisfactory numbers were achieved in sphere of strategic agricultural crops. President went on to say that a number of steps were taken with regard to monetary and financial reform , and obstacles that hindered investment were overcome. He indicated that an ambitious plan was already launched to achieve wide and balanced socio-economic development and the achievement of which is connected with a number of objective and subjective factors. The president added that if the objective factors are connected fundamentally with regional and international circumstances , the subjective factors are connected with the extent to which we are capable of mobilizing the material and human resources in the best way possible.
The president said that during the past four years that separated the between the 8th and 9th terms of the People's Assembly , the region was exposed to enormous events that all in all formed a violent political , intellectual , and psychological earthquake that was very difficult to discern its dimensions. The president added that given the experience of the course of events in the history of the region , and through Syria's efficient role in influencing these events, he drew at the same podium in the previous term of the People's Assembly, the features of the prevailing realities at the time and the consequences that followed according to the available data. He added that Syria warned at the time against the collapse awaiting the Arab nation and against the volume of the dangers threatening it if the absence of the spirit of pan-Arab responsibility persisted. The president said that Syria's vision and awareness of the others' aims and farfetched targets led to Syria's rejection of all the allegations presented to spread blind chaos in the Arab society and in the Arab countries leading to total loss. For that reason came Syria's rejection of the invasion of Iraq and what has followed of tragedies and pains on a daily basis. He said that Syria has worked hard to foil the attempts to liquidate the bastions of resistance and has worked to repel the humiliating settlement projects that came under the title of the New or Greater Middle East and what it contained of reshaping the region according to the Israeli requirements. He went on to say that Syria as was expected had been the target of non- stop pressures during the past period with the aim of forcing her to abandon her principles and strategic options.
"Syria's stance was firm and her policy was clear … the occupation was rejected and stress was made on the necessity for a timetable for the withdrawal of the occupation forces , and on the right of the Iraqi people to resist occupation."
"Syria's stance was firm and her policy was clear … the occupation was rejected and stress was made on the necessity for a timetable for the withdrawal of the occupation forces , and on the right of the Iraqi people to resist occupation". He said that Syria expressed readiness to play her role in opening a national Iraqi dialogue not for the satisfaction of anybody but out of Syria's faith in the achievement of stability to the Iraqi people first and second to the region. The president said that Syria cooperation ,to be clear, is meant to help the Iraqi people to overcome their plight, and not meant to help the occupation troops to pullout of trouble. The president said that the operation is political and not a military operation , pointing out that the whole world is repeating the same logic although late . He added that sending 20 thousand troops or 200 thousand troops to Iraq, without a political process to help the Iraqi people, will not lead to a result. Such a process might be Iraqi dialogue or through Iraq conference , and not an international conference in the service of some countries' aims.
" Stability in Lebanon is a stability in Syria, and peace in Lebanon, is a peace in Syria particularly after the war in Iraq and the recent repercussions in Iraq and the peace in Lebanon has become a peace for the region and not confined to specific geographic framework."
As for the political situation in Lebanon, the president said that Syria supports any option that achieves Lebanese accord enabling the Lebanese people and state to overcome the current crisis since stability in Lebanon is a stability in Syria, and peace in Lebanon, is a peace in Syria particularly after the war in Iraq and the recent repercussions in Iraq and the peace in Lebanon has become a peace for the region and not confined to specific geographic framework. The president added that Syria will be honest in working for all the spectrums of the Lebanese people, and will not abandon her pan-Arab duty in extending help to the Lebanese brotherly people who we share the historic and geographic , and kinship realities that can not be affected by some insane voices. As for the controversial international tribunal , Syria's position is that the court of international nature is special issue between Lebanon and the United Nations and Syria can not see that she is directly involved in it. And any cooperation required from Syria that leads to conceding national sovereignty is categorically rejected. The president stressed that Syria has always cooperated with various resolutions of international legitimacy, and is ready to cooperate now and in the future as Syria did with the International Investigation Committee, but Syria will certainly reject any thing that touches her independence and sovereignty. The president added that cooperation with the committee is one thing and cooperation with the tribunal is another thing , and conceding sovereignty means that any Syrian national whether within the state or outside the state will be protected by the Syrian jurisdiction and becomes under other jurisdictions like a form of mandate under different titles. The president stressed that the national decision is above the international resolution, and although Syria signed the UN. Charter yet Syria has not signed the interests of the United Nations or those of some of her allies. He indicated that some tried to show that Syria is hindering the tribunal , but Syria has no remarks on the tribunal except that some Arab lawyers volunteered and prepared studies we have compiled and sent them to those who asked for them , but these studies do not reflect Syria's position. The president reiterated that Syria is not concerned with any remarks or with any opinion regarding this tribunal.
The Palestinian Cause
"Supporting the Palestinian national unity should come first in our responsibilities as Arab states"
Regarding the Palestinian issue, President al-Assad said that Syria intensified efforts and worked with Palestinians to form the Palestinian national unity government. "Supporting the Palestinian national unity should come first in our responsibilities as Arab states whether through offering aid to them or working to lift international siege imposed on the Palestinian people… this siege which aims at meeting Israeli conditions, on top abandoning the Palestinian right to resist occupation and guaranteeing the refugees right to return home," President al-Assad noted. On the Palestinian refugees' issue, the President said that it is a right for the refugee and the Arab latest summit of Riyadh took a decisive resolution in this direction to keep this item in the Arab peace initiative. " We know that the refugees haven't abandon this right, so there is not a force in the world capable to cancel this right… and we should defend that right strongly as far as the refugee wants to adhere to that right," President Assad added.
Mideast Peace Process
"We don't want to foil the peace process, we are talking about requirements, not conditions… there are no Syrian conditions, but there are requirements and Syria will not relinquish those requirements,"
On peace, the President noted that Israel's way in dealing with peace is not surprising as experiences with the Israeli successive governments proved this. "Following the Israeli latest aggression on Lebanon and the heroic steadfastness of the resistance, many talked about communications that took place secretly in this context and others referred to Syria's rush to revive peace talks in order to break her isolation, in addition to other allegations that lack accuracy," President al-Assad went on. " In fact, there is no progress in the peace process and there is not any contacts with Israel whether secretly or publicly, because Israel is not ready for the just and comprehensive peace which needs strong leaderships that can take decisive decisions, particularly in the presence of a weak government incapable to take such strategic decision," the President underlined. President al-Assad reiterated Syria's firm stance toward peace, saying "peace should be based on a number of factors and all parties should be ready to commit themselves to the terms of this peace since it was launched in Madrid 1991." He reminded of the bases of peace which are the land-for-peace formula and international Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the restoration of the occupied Arab territories into the line of June 4th, 1967 including the Syrian Golan. "The achievement of peace also requires a fair sponsor who has interest to end tension in the region and has actual Will to tackle this issue… and this sponsor is not existed now," President al-Assad added. The president denied any secret negotiations regarding peace process. "We repeatedly denied any secret meetings because we reject this principle. The Syrian people support their government in the peace process and in negotiations… so there is no need to hide this matter behind," he stressed. President al-Assad said that when there are secret talks and this an Israeli old way, this means the talks will be out of the international supervision, and everyone dealt with Israel knew that it was escaping from the international supervision and from scandals regarding Israel's non-willingness in achieving peace. As for mediators, the President said that scores of mediators come to Syria, some of them serious and some of them want to play a role for different reasons. "We didn't charge anyone to negotiate on behalf of us… but we encourage any party to play a role, particularly countries which have respect and want to play a serious role and have credibility," President al-Assad added. "We told them you should come with all needed requirements of peace process… and when they proposed that Syria was ready for negotiations without preconditions, they started to say and write that Syria abandoned everything… we say no.. Resolutions 242 and 338 are not Syrian conditions, they are international resolutions which were not put by us... they are international conditions put in 1967," President al-Assad went on. He reiterated that the land is a base and not a condition… peace process needs a base, and without it there will not be a peace process. "It is illogic to say that peace process means to cancel all what we agreed upon and go backwards… the land is a base and we will not abandon it… it will be resorted completely," President al-Assad said. He underlined that negotiations will be resumed from the point at where they stopped at, saying " there should be a fair sponsor that should work in light of UN Security Council resolutions… these are the requirements of peace, they are not conditions." "We don't want to foil the peace process, we are talking about requirements, not conditions… there are no Syrian conditions, but there are requirements and Syria will not relinquish those requirements," the President added. President al-Assad noted that some states talked about Syria's isolation and her rush to peace in order to break this isolation, saying " this is contradictory to the reality because peace to Syria is a strategy and her call to peace expresses willingness and efforts to restore the occupied lands and achieve security and stability to her people."
"We are with dialogue which respects our will and with relations which respect our sovereignty, we are with dialogue without preconditions... without abandoning rights and dignity… it is the dialogue away of dictations."
"Those who tried to isolate Syria failed, and the realities proved that who he wants to isolate Syria will be isolating himself from regional issues because Syria has its role and position," President al-Assad added. He stressed that Syria adopts openness to all, it seeks good and balanced relations with all, saying "we are with dialogue which respects our will and with relations which respect our sovereignty, we are with dialogue without preconditions... without abandoning rights and dignity… it is the dialogue away of dictations." The President added that last years proved that the logic of force in international relations and the way of pre-emptive wars didn't provide peace and security to the people, but escalated tension and conflict. "The latest events also proved that an objective treatment to the standing problems requires searching for the real reasons behind conflicts," President al-Assad said. He underlined that the nation, by its national unity and cohesion, was able to defeat conspiracies which till now didn't end. "So people should be always aware of those plots, they should close ranks, dismiss reasons of division and sedition and confront voices which decorate and show surrender as reaching our region to paradise," President al-Assad said. He referred to a report recently issued in Israel which talks about the Israeli failure and the defeat of the Israeli army, at the same time when some Arab voices were talking about the defeat of Lebanon. President al-Assad called for boosting relations with brotherly Arabs who share Syrian people destiny and who see that there is no future to this nation except by solidarity, unity and coordination. The President concluded by addressing MPs, saying " as you represent the people's conscience, you have a role in maintaining national independence and defending people's sovereignty and facing attempts of foreign interference." "You have a role in consolidating culture of resistance to confront challenges the nation encounters… you have a role in the commitment to our rights and principles… in struggle till we restore our Golan as a precious part of Syria," President al-Assad added.