His Excellency President Bashar Assad underlined that the realization of just and comprehensive peace in the region would pave the way for recognition, and for normal relations with Israel. 

"Once Israel was to be able to offer genuine peace, a just and balanced peace deal was to be signed, there would be a recognition of Israel,'' President Assad said in a special interview with the French television on June 16th, 2001, prior to his forthcoming trip to Paris. in reply to a question on the possibility of signing a peace agreement with the Israeli Premier, Sharon, the President said " never view the agreement as the objective, the objective is the very peace; the reality whereas the agreement is one of the means for the realization of peace,''.

"If the said means were to be just, there would be a just peace; there are certain bases for the process of peace,'' the President added asserting that Syria searches for real and just peace not for deformed agreements citing examples of such failures by others in the past.

"We want the Golan, the Syrian land. Syria puts no conditions for this hence the Golan was but her own right,'' added the president reiterating that this very right was enshrined, acknowledged and unanimously agreed upon through the related UN resolutions, Madrid Terms of Reference, by every member of the world community save the Israeli side.

"Not a single day passes without the Syrians talk of and work for peace; this is our aim, this very aim is the hope where all of us have interest in lasting and genuine peace" the president said asserting '' I believe, sooner or later, there would be peace and stability,''.

in reply to a question about the president's statements that the racism in Israeli even exceed Nazism, the president said '' I spoke of the Israeli racism through what it carries on of killing operations whether during the Intifada or during its existence.''

"As for my speech before His Holiness, the Pope, I said that the sufferings of Jesus Christ were similar to those felt by the Palestinians in Palestine nowadays, the treason against Prophet Mohammad were similar to the same Israeli treason against the peace process,''

President Assad spoke of the ongoing process of reform and modernization in Syria citing some hurdles and obstacles on this way voicing determination as to eliminate all these obstacles. "We in Syria have to tackle subjective obstacles, often linked to individuals, and objective ones; we have to tackle first the subjective obstacles, which would give a push for the process of development,'' the president noted.

"We are in the process of laying down the basics for democracy, the more solid these basics were, the larger building we would construct,'' asserted His Excellency.

In reply to questions about Syrian troops deployment in Lebanon, President Assad said '' The redeployment of Syrian troops in Lebanon was linked to technical considerations estimated by military personnel in both countries and was subject directly to a design by the political leadership of Syria and Lebanon,'' reiterating that the presence of the Syrian troops in Lebanon was '' definitely a temporary one''.

In reply to another question, President Assad asserted Syria's support for the Palestinian Cause saying that '' We want the world to applaud for peace and for the signature of a deal''. 

His Excellency also spoke of Syria's call upon the international community, European Union, Peace sponsors, as to play their required role actively for the realization of peace hoping that his visit to France and talks with its leaders would further boost the ever good relations between Syria and France.

M. Abdo Al Ibrahim

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