President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday said that Syria is a pivotal part of the region's issues; Palestine, the situation in Lebanon, Iraq, terrorism and any other issue.
"We are a basic part of the solution; it was not possible to isolate Syria. I think what has changed is not Syria's stance… our stances are firm... What has been changed is the others' understanding to the importance of Syria," President Assad told France TV 2 and 5 in an interview with French Journalist Thierry Thuillier.
"I believe that what is happening now of the return of the European envoys to Syria is the normal thing," the President said.
On Syria's ties with France, President Assad added that relations among different institutions were not affected by the political ties.
"Impacts were on the political level because we can't separate the relation of presidents from the Foreign Ministry, and the political field... but presidents of states are responsible for the foreign policy, so we can put it in the frame of relation between presidents.. Not between the two countries," President al-Assad said.
He added "Europe and France are almost absent in the political arena, and this is not good for us, we are not satisfied with this situation, but this is temporal and couldn't last forever."
On French President Jacques Chirac accusation of Syria regarding Hariri assassination, President al-Assad underlined " it is not possible for a person in the level of president to accuse anyone without evidences… whom he wants to accuse Syria, whether he is President Chirac or any other person, he should give evidence… relations among countries should be built on realities and interests not on personal emotions."
Regarding ways of returning ties between Syria and France to normal, President al-Assad said that it is necessary to put clear bases for these relations, first, respect of each country to the other, second it is not possible to build the relation with Syria through a third side. The relation with France is historic and relations should be direct through direct interests.
Concerning Syria's work paper on Lebanon in the Arab forthcoming Summit of Riyadh, the President stressed "I think the most important proposal for any political standoff in any country is to return to the constitution. There are two constitutional proposals in Lebanon, the early elections or the national unity government, and I think that either solution is true and normal as far as the constitution is there."
"Any solution in Lebanon that won't take into consideration the Lebanese consensus means instability in Lebanon, we should find the common factors which realize consensus, at that time, we can play a role, not pressure, I don't like the word pressures, I'd like dialogue… as we did with the Palestinians, we held dialogue without any pressures," President al-Assad noted.
Regarding the international tribunal, the President underlined that it is part of the Lebanese consensus and the national unity government, "there is no difference on the court as a principle... the difference is on the proposed draft and the law it will be based on."
"From the beginning, we backed international efforts regarding this subject... investigation committees and the tribunal… but, the court has no relation to Syria… the court is an agreement between the UN ,or Security Council, and the Lebanese government… it needs a modification in items by the Lebanese constitution. We support the tribunal if it helps reach positive outcomes concerning investigation and if it is professional and not politicized," President al-Assad went on.
On the President's response if the court referred to any Syrian relation to Hariri assassination, he said "this needs evidence... I previously said that any person who might be involved in this matter is considered a traitor on the national level and within the Syria law… he will be tried under the Syrian law and will be punished. But we will not abandon our sovereignty in this subject."
On UN report about weapon smuggling to Lebanon particularly to Hizbullah, President al-Assad said that "this accusation is rejected, saying that the European intelligence is existed in Lebanon with their Lebanese allies, so where are the evidences?"
The president added that " Hizbullah announced, before and after war, that it has big capabilities and it is not necessary for them have arms ….what happens is running away from the basic problem…they have to work towards the solution of peace in the Middle East before they talk about missile or thousands of missiles by any side or organization in our region".
Answering a question on deployment of any UN forces along the Syrian-Lebanese borders, the President indicated that "we announced that we reject any deployment of international forces because this means "war announcement" .We agreed on technical cooperation with sides in this regard, many of the European states proposed this issue which is monitoring the Syrian –Lebanese borders.
On the deployment of UN forces in South Lebanon, President al-Assad added" our stance is declared….before the war and before 1701 resolution we stressed the necessity to boost UNIFIL forces in South Lebanon and the truth is that US intended to decrease these forces, so we agreed on 1701 resolution, regardless of the non- objective and non-positive items in this resolution." For us boosting UNIFIL within the current UN forces authority is something right and positive." President Assad added.
Regarding Syria's participation in Baghdad Summit and Syria' role to stop civil war there, the President said " any solution must be Iraqi one and our role is to help the Iraqis, and what we are doing is to start dialogue with all parties whether they are supporting the political process or opposing it, aiming at finding the common grounds in this regard."
President al-Assad added that Syria' viewpoint is that after reaching these common bases, there must be an Iraqi national conference and not international one …..a national conference with international and regional support to help the Iraqis create a dialogue.
On accusing Syria of allowing terrorists to infiltrate through its borders into Iraq, President Bashar al-Assad replied "US Administration always blames its failure on others and doesn't admit its failure …..The problem in Iraq is political and their political failure in Iraq led to this chaos." In regard to Syria's role to control borders the President added that this thing must be done by the two sides and not by one side.
Regarding the repercussions of the US incorrect policy in Iraq and the region, President al- Assad said that any chaos in a country will affect the other, and may be the whole Middle East due to the similarity of social nature in our region, and its not in our interest that there is disorder along the borders because we will pay the price in a day in the same way .US and Britain are fully responsible of this confusion in the whole region."
On the Syrian –Iranian relations, President Assad said that Iran is an important country in the Middle East and Syria' relations with Iran or the rest of region's states are very important for security in the region, so we have to establish good relations with Iran as a part of work for security, adding that Iran has right to posses nuclear weapon for peaceful purposes in line with the international law and this is also a right for all countries in the world.
The President underlined that " we presented a draft law to UN Security Council in 2003 on freeing the Middle East from all weapons of mass destruction and we are asking for justice in this regard because Israel possesses nuclear weapons so this issue must be implemented on everybody not selectively towards a state without the other.
Answering a question on if there are secret negotiations between Syria and Israel, President al- Assad stressed " no …we fully reject the principle of secret negotiations …we don’t hide anything …..If we are talking publicly about peace so why we hide peace from the people...if people support peace process why we hide it." peace process needs a popular support …at the end when you want to sign the agreement so it should be in public and if there is no popular support for the details of the negotiations so there will not be a popular backing to the agreement, so, you will not reach any positive result or you cannot sign the agreement, so this principle is fully rejected.
On Syria's readiness to establish peace with Israel, President al-Assad said.. Sure "this is a firm principle to Syria and we do not change it …it is a matter of right …..We have a right in the whole land and all occupied territories must be restored and any other details are possible to be negotiated but not the land, because it is a Syrian land.