"More dangerous than the report is that the UN Security Council resolution is established on unfinished reports. How is the Security Council resolution built on such report? "
December 28, 2005
summary: President Bashar al-Assad has given an interview to the Turkish Sky News T.V. Station. His Excellency was interviewed by Serdad Ak Inan.
Following is the full text of the interview:
The Announcer : Mr. President, at the beginning, we thank you for receiving us. We would like to start with the Syrian-Turkish relations. December is a very important date for Turkey, after Justice and Development Party assumed power, December 17 was a very important date for Turkey, when the Turkish-European relations started. Following this date, there was an important visit by Turkish Prime Minister (Tayyep Recep) Erdogan to Syria; it was a very important visit for Turkey's foreign policy. Later, there were, however hidden hands trying to obstruct the development of the Syrian-Turkish relations.
What is your evaluation of the situation now of the Syrian-Turkish relations?
President : True, there are pressures not only on Turkey, but also on all countries which understand the Syrian position, whether in our region or in other regions, some of them European.
In spite of this, this relationship did not go at a slower speed that it has been moving at for several years. Seemingly, some issues do not sometimes appear clear, but in essence the relationship is constantly and steadily moving upward.
There is a conviction by all the Turkish institutions and strata, there is no exaggeration, of the importance of relationship with Syria. This is one thing. The other thing is that there is a conviction by Turkey and many countries in the world of the unjustness of what is happening with Syria these days, and that these pressures have political objectives and have nothing to do with the headlines being raised. I can say that the relationship with Turkey is moving in all the economic and political fields, security coordination, and the natural and historical social relations are also developing and becoming stronger with time.
Q : Let me elaborate on the issue. For example, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has made an important and sudden visit to Syria. It seems that Turkey has taken new roles in its relationship with Israel, and there is real shift in the Turkish foreign policy with regard to the Middle East in general. Generally, the foreign policy of the Justice and Development Party may be positive. For instance, I was here when Prime Minister Erdogan visited Syria, and many agreements were signed, precisely a year ago when I was with him. What happened to those agreements? Did they make practical steps in the Syrian-Turkish relationship?
"Any problem can be solved through dialogue"
December 12, 2005
summary: Mr Brilev: Mr President, thank you very much for granting us this interview. The Russian television and Russian people highly appreciate receiving us here in Damascus at this particular time which witnesses complications for the international situations and for Syria in particular.
You spent years in the West, in England in particular; and you understand a number of European languages without an interpreter. But there seems to be some problems concerning communications between the West and Syria. Furthermore, while Iraq created divisions in the Western alliance, the opposite is happening now: countries which were at loggerheads previously, like the United States and France, and particularly Presidents Bush and Chirac, seem to be in agreement now. What are you doing to get out of this situation?
President al-Assad: In the beginning, I would like to welcome you. The problem concerning the relationship between Syria and part of the West, not all of the West, is with some Western officials. So, it is not a problem of language as you said. I understand their language, and some of them might understand Arabic. But the problem is with the conceptions carried by languages. There is a great difference in conceptions. There is a difference in cultures which is widening instead of narrowing by virtue of developments in communication methods. But in order for things to be normal, the West has to know more about our region, our history, our conceptions, about the real causes of our problems. What is required is for the West to stop dealing with terminology and to start addressing the problems by dealing with the facts on the ground. We live this reality, while they live thousands of miles away. They have to listen to our views and to understand the way we think.
"…to see the Investigation Commission reconsider past mistakes in order to arrive at a just and objective report…"
HE President Bashar Assad's Interview with France3 TV
Damascus, 5, December 2005.
Mr. Mallard: Mr. President, thank you for receiving us in Damascus and for granting Channel 3 this interview.
Mr. President, Syria has agreed that five Syrian citizens could be interviewed by commissioner Mehlis in Vienna. What do you expect of this interrogation? And what in fact do you expect from the Mehlis report to be submitted to the Security Council on December 15th?
President Assad: It is normal to expect to see a professional interrogation that seeks to find out the reasons behind the crime. But, as you know, this interrogation is only part of the whole investigation process of which we expected a lot and on which we have many remarks. At this stage, we are looking for a reconsideration of the mistakes made.
From the beginning of the investigation, five witnesses appeared and provided false information. Recently a Syrian witness confessed that he was forced to give a statement that supports one viewpoint in this investigation. This makes us feel worried over where this investigation is heading. That is why what we expect, in the first place, is to see a professional interrogation and at the same time to see the Investigation Commission reconsider past mistakes in order to arrive at a just and objective report that indeed leads to uncovering the reasons behind the crime that claimed the life of Prime Minister Hariri.
Al-Assad: 'Syria has nothing to do with this crime'
Wednesday, October 12, 2005 Posted: 1907 GMT
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad denied that Syria was involved in the killing of Rafik Hariri.
DAMASCUS, Syria (CNN) -- Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad sat down Wednesday and, in an exclusive interview, spoke to CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
The following is an edited transcript of Amanpour's interview with Al-Assad:
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, it's not just with the United States that you're having trouble right now. It is potentially with the whole world. As you know, in two weeks, the U.N.'s investigation into the assassination of Rafik Hariri will be published, and there are well-informed U.N. sources who say that Syria will be implicated.
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA: We're not isolated. So far, we have very good relations with the whole of the world. I think most of the country, they know that Syria is not involved in that crime for two reasons. The first reason, this goes against our principles. The second reason, this goes against our interests.
And from another aspect, Rafik Hariri was supportive to the Syrian role in Lebanon. He was never against. So there's no logic involving Syria -- in putting Syria's name in this crime. So far, we are very confident, and we'll see the investigation committee two weeks ago, and we're very cooperative. And we are more confident after that interview that they made in Syria that we are completely innocent. Syria has nothing to do with this crime.
AMANPOUR: And yet, you've obviously heard the informed speculation that Syria could be implicated. If it is implicated, and if the names of high-level or any Syrian officials are provided as suspects, will you hand them over for an international trial?
AL-ASSAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Concerning this specific matter, if indeed there is a Syrian national implicated in it, he would be considered as a traitor and most severely punished. It is treason and where the trial will take place, that's different. However, we are confident that Syria is not involved, and so far, there is no material evidence of Syrian involvement. We are confident of that.
AMANPOUR: So just let me get it straight again. If Syrians are implicated, you will hand them over for international trial?
ASSAD: Yes. If implicated, they should be punished. International or Syrian, whatever. If they're not punished internationally, they will be punished in Syria.
Prima intervista del leader di Damasco dopo la crisi di Beirut e gli ultimatum lanciati da Washington
Assad: "Nel mirino degli Usa ma avranno bisogno di noi"
Il presidente siriano: "Saremo necessari per la pace"
DAI NOSTRI INVIATI ALIX VAN BUREN e NICOLA LOMBARDOZZI
DAMASCO - Bashar al Assad, il presidente siriano, è nettissimo: "Saremo noi il prossimo obiettivo d'Israele e della Casa Bianca? Era già tutto scritto da tempo. L'Iraq era il primo passo. Poi sarebbe toccato all'Iran e alla Siria. Ma non è detto che le cose vadano così". In queste terre e di questi tempi è possibile ogni sorpresa. Eccolo qui il raìs che Washington vorrebbe mettere sotto scacco, e Israele minaccia d'attaccare: il giovane presidente Al Assad, erede di quell'Hafez Al Assad che l'Occidente appellava Sfinge di Damasco, Bismarck del Medio Oriente per la "feroce intelligenza" (diceva Kissinger) con cui studiava abili mosse sullo scacchiere mediorientale, e che ora sorride benedicente da un ritratto incorniciato nello studio privato del palazzo presidenziale. Questa è la prima intervista concessa dopo la crisi di Beirut e gli ultimatum pronunciati da Washington.
Cinque anni al potere non hanno cambiato Bashar Al Assad: bella faccia, baffetti, due occhi che sembrano indulgenti. Un giovane dottore prima avviato a una carriera di oftalmologo, e poi diventato presidente suo malgrado: catapultato al potere a 34 anni alla morte del padre, nel luglio 2000. Oculista, avrà la vista più aguzza, si dissero i pretoriani del partito Baath, e per accomodare la sua giovane età modificarono i termini previsti dalla Costituzione. Educato in Europa, abbraccerà la modernità, si dissero i siriani, e infatti lo acclamarono.
Signor presidente, gli Stati Uniti alzano il tono delle accuse, Israele minaccia un blitz. Lei è a capo di un Paese a volte definito "Stato canaglia". Che effetto le fa?