Connect with us
Bashar Assad Bashar Assad

Middle East

Assad on Syria peace talks: ‘We’re ready to discuss anything, but who will be on other side?’

Published

on

The problem with the upcoming Syria peace talks is whether “the real opposition” will be represented, Syrian President Bashar Assad told French media, following a visit by French MPs to the liberated city of Aleppo.

Assad said that a Syrian government delegation is ready to leave for the Russian and Turkish-brokered negotiations in Astana, Kazakhstan, as soon as is necessary.

“We announced that our delegation to that conference is ready to go when they define… when they set the time of that conference. We are ready to negotiate everything, anything, it’s fully open, there’s no limit for those negotiations.”

However, the question remains over whom they are going to talk to, Assad added.

“But who’s going to be there from the other side? We don’t know yet. Is it going to be the real Syrian opposition – and when I say ‘real’ it means it has grassroots in Syria, not Saudi ones or French ones or British ones – it should be Syrian opposition to discuss Syrian issues. So, the viability or, let’s say, the success of that conference, will depend on that point,” the Syrian president told French media, as cited by the Sana news agency.

Assad was also asked if he would be prepared to relinquish the presidency, should it become necessary.

“My position is related to the constitution, and the constitution is very clear about the mechanism in which you can bring a president or get rid of a president. So, if they want to discuss this point, they have to discuss the constitution, and the constitution should be owned by the Syrian people, so you need a referendum,” the Syrian leader said.

“’If I feel that the Syrian people doesn’t want me [to be president], of course I wouldn’t be,” he concluded.

Asked about apparent shifts in power recently, both across the Atlantic and in Europe, Assad chose to remain cautious.

“We always hope that the next [US] administration [will] want to deal with the reality. [But] what we’ve learned in the last few years is that many officials would say something and do the opposite,” he said.

He added that the mainstream media had attempted to add fuel to the fire, although this had largely “failed in the West” and forced people to “look for the truth.”

“The truth was the main victim of the events in the Middle East, including Syria,” Assad added.

Nevertheless, he remained optimistic about the transition of power in the US.

“The Syrian problem is not isolated, it’s not only Syrian-Syrian; a major part of the Syrian conflict is regional and international. The simplest part that you can deal with is the Syrian-Syrian part, the regional and the international part depends mainly on the relations between the US and Russia.

“If there’s a genuine approach or initiative toward improving the relations between the United States and Russia, that will affect every problem in the world, including Syria. So yes, we think that’s positive,” Assad concluded.

Middle East

UN appeals for countries to take in 1,300 Libyan refugees

Published

on

Libyan refugees

The UN has appealed to countries worldwide to take in 1,300 mainly African refugees stranded in Libya. Many of them were mistreated while being detained appalling conditions.

Niger has agreed to temporarily host the most vulnerable of the evacuees, including unaccompanied children and single mothers, pending their processing and departure for resettlement, Reuters said.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Monday that it “urgently requests 1,300 places for resettlement” to be made available by the end of March. The UNHCR intends to evacuate between 700 and 1,300 people from Libya to Niger by the end of January 2018.

Continue Reading

Middle East

‘Don’t buy from Arabs’, says Israeli Defense Minister

Published

on

Avigdor Lieberman

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called on his fellow citizens to boycott the Palestinian market of the Wadi Ara region of north-east Israel, after riots broke out there on Saturday over the American decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem.

Three people were injured when protesters began hurling stones at a bus. “I am calling for a boycott of Wadi Ara. Don’t go there and don’t buy there. They need to understand that it is impossible to demonstrate with Hezbollah flags, Palestinian flags and pictures of [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah.

To accept billions from the National Insurance [Institute] and to also destroy us from within,” Haaretz quoted Lieberman telling Army Radio.

Continue Reading

Middle East

Hamas leader calls for ‘new intifada in the face of Israel’

Published

on

Ismail Haniyeh

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has called for a new uprising against Israel following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of the Jewish state.

“We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy,” said Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, in a speech in Gaza Thursday, Reuters reports.

Anti-US protests erupted almost immediately after Trump’s declaration Wednesday, with Palestinians first to take to the streets, calling for three days of rage against the move.

World leaders expressed serious concern over the decision and its potential to destabilize the region.

The decision has been welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thanked Trump, and said he be believes “many” other nations will follow suit in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Pope Francis said he could not “remain silent” and spoke of his “great anxiety” surrounding the decision, while the EU voiced “serious concern.”

“I cannot remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days,”Francis said at his weekly general audience at the Vatican.

“Jerusalem is a unique city,” he added, “sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where the Holy Places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular