'Syria wants peace, because it knows that in peace you find prosperity and development." 


RIMINI, OCTOBER 20 - When asked which of the candidates for the White House she preferred out of Barack Obama and John McCain, Asma al-Assad, the wife of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, said: "the important thing is that the next American president is part of the solution, not part of the problem". The Syrian first lady was speaking in Rimini where she is currently a guest of the International Days at the Pio Manzù centre in Rimini. Elegantly dressed in a blue trouser suit, Mrs. al-Assad told journalists in a meeting at the Grand Hotel that "poverty (one of the themes of the 'Days') is a serious problem in my country, as in many others in the Middle East that find themselves in the eye of the storm. But I am working hard because education is improving in Syria and the involvement of women at decision-making and economically important levels is growing. Syria wants peace, because it knows that in peace you find prosperity and development". Asma al-Assad, who has worked in large banks (Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan), was also asked to give her judgment on the global crisis, she responded: "the banks should think more about the people and not only about their own interests. But if I had to advise an investment, I would say that you should invest in your children, in their education, in their qualifications, because they are the future. That is what I...what we are trying to do in Syria".

 What does she like about Italy? "Your ability to reconcile your magnificent art and history with modernity". In an interview with Tg1, the Syrian first lady then underlined the necessity to find a common definition on terrorism. "Everyone should agree on the origins and nature of the terrorist phenomenon, but this is seldom the case", said Mrs. al-Assam, recalling that in the 1980s, "President Reagan called the Taliban 'Warriers of God' because they fought against the Soviets. Nowadays, the Taliban are merely terrorists". She explained: "perhaps we should reconsider these definitions and find one on which everyone agrees to define what a terrorist is, and what a terrorist is not". The wife of the Syrian president was in Italy to receive the gold medal from the Pio Manzù centre from the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, in recognition of her efforts towards economic, social and cultural development in her country. Asma al-Assad then revealed that Syria "pays a high price due to terrorism", and has denied the accusation that Damascus is financing extremists: "it is like accusing the victim of having helped his assassin". The recipe for combating widespread extremism, she added, is economic development and the improvement of peoples' living conditions in order to eradicate poverty and illiteracy. "Syria has reach a growth rate of 6.1%, which is a notable achievement", continued al-Assad - "but there is still a long way to go".

 The Source: (ANSAmed) (TG1)

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