Damascus, 7 Jumadil Akhir 1436/27 March 2015 (MINA) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is open to having any dialogue with anyone including the United States, without pressuring his country’s sovereignty.
“As principal, in Syria we could say that every dialogue is a positive thing, and we are going to be open to any dialogue with anyone, including the United States, regarding anything based on mutual respect,” Assad said in an excerpt of an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired on Thursday as quoted by Reuters, Ahram and Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
The statement came after he asked about recent comments by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Washington would have to negotiate with the Syrian leader to end the conflict there.
While saying there had been no direct communication between Damascus and Washington, Assad, who has been fighting Islamist and other rebels since 2011, added: “Any dialogue is positive, as I said, in principal, of course, without pressuring the sovereignty of Syria.”
The United States still wants a negotiated political settlement to Syria’s civil war that excludes Assad, U.S. officials said earlier this month after Kerry’s comments.
The State Department said later that Kerry was not specifically referring to Assad and that Washington would never bargain with him.(T/R04/P3)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)