Assad Calls for National Dialogue to End Conflict

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Syrian President Bashar Assad in a rare speech Sunday denounced the opposition as "slaves" of the West and called for a national dialogue conference to be followed by a referendum on a national charter and parliamentary elections.

Outlining a reconciliation plan aimed at resolving Syria's 21-month conflict which according to the U.N. has claimed more than 60,000 lives, Assad called on foreign powers to end their support for rebels seeking to topple his regime.

"Regional and international countries must stop funding the armed men to allow those displaced to return to their homes," Assad said to wild applause from crowds packed into the Dar Assad Center for Culture and Arts in Damascus.

"Right after that our military operations will cease," he said, adding without elaborating that a mechanism to monitor such a truce would be established.

Describing the Western-backed opposition as "slaves" of foreign powers, he admitted that Syria was in the throes of a "real war".

The government would soon spell out details of the transition plan, he said, while stressing that any resolution must be purely Syrian and ratified by referendum, including a charter drafted at the national dialogue conference.

After the referendum, new parliamentary polls would be held, followed by the creation of a new government, said Assad.

But he stressed for all this to happen "there must be agreement at the national dialogue conference."

"Just because we have not found a partner, it does not mean we are not interested in a political solution, but that we did not find a partner," he told the audience.

He said the conflict was not one between the government and the opposition but between the "nation and its enemies."

"The one thing that is sure that those who we face today are those who carry the Al-Qaida ideology," Assad said, repeating previous assertions that "foreign terrorists" are behind the uprising in his country.

"There are those who seek to partition Syria and weaken it," he said.

Assad last spoke in public on June 3 when he addressed parliament in Damascus. In November he gave an interview to Russian television in which he dismissed suggestions he would go into exile, saying he would "live and die" in Syria.

Since then he has not commented on the conflict which has ravaged his country, with vast swathes of northern Syria now in the hands of rebels, who also control an arc of towns on the eastern outskirts of Damascus and are locked in battle for control of major cities, including Homs and Aleppo.

In his speech on Sunday Assad came out fighting, appealing to all Syrians to join together to defend the nation.

"Everyone must defend it... the attack on the entire nation... every citizen who is aware... and refusing to join solutions is taking the nation backwards," he said.

The president, who was frequently interrupted by chants of "With our soul with our blood we sacrifice ourselves for you O Bashar", stressed throughout his speech that the Syrian people must decide their future alone.

During his latest visit to Damascus, U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi had mentioned a plan, based on a Geneva declaration, that talked of a ceasefire, forming a government and holding parliamentary and presidential polls.

The Geneva plan put forward last June would see a transitional government in place, but it does not refer to Assad going -- a key demand of the opposition.

NATO-member Turkey, a one-time Damascus ally, has become one of its most vocal opponents over the conflict in its southern neighbor, and has led international calls for Assad to go.

On Saturday the deployment began of U.S. Patriot missiles near its border with Syria.

The U.S. will transport some 400 troops to Turkey in the coming days to operate two Patriot batteries, to be based at Gaziantep, 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of the border.

Germany, The Netherlands and the United States agreed to supply the ground-to-air missile batteries which Turkey requested after deadly cross-border shelling from Syria.

Violence on the ground continued unabated, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday reporting that troops bombarded rebel positions on the outskirts of the capital overnight, including in Beit Saham near the Damascus airport road, the southwest town of Daraya and Douma to the northeast.

Comments 21
Missing peace 06 January 2013, 14:16

still in denial...seems he has taken an old speech from the baath drawers and recycled it without taking into account the real situation.
the speech of a desperate dictator believing all is white and he is the only one representing the values of the country! lol!
he ll burn his country just to stay in power but the fall will be all the more bitter along with his lebanese M8 supporters!!!!

Thumb andre.jabbour 06 January 2013, 14:20

Our friend Assad lives in fantasyland...

Thumb geha 06 January 2013, 14:22

Syria is doomed for the next 20 years.
hizbushaitan and fpm will start paying the price of their alliances soon.

Missing canadianadam 06 January 2013, 14:32

Wow. It looks like ASSad and Hezbollah share a common challenge. It's tough to find people to have dialogue with when you re trying to kill them all.
'Id really like to carry on a conversation, just let me bomb your car first'

Thumb whyaskwhy 06 January 2013, 14:35

Sadly no one but Iran and Hizballah so called fair weather supporters probably listened to his speech. He is starting to sound like Gaddafi Duck, soon it will be the Zanga Zanga and we will fight them on the beaches speech’s from his bunker. Geha you have a good point irrelevant of what happens (hopeful peace) it will take many years for the Syrian nation to go back to normal...if possible!

Thumb andre.jabbour 06 January 2013, 15:04

Zanga Zanga or Bunga Bunga? Either way he's soooo over.

Missing phillipo 06 January 2013, 16:17

When I was a little boy all those years ago, I was taught that if I argued with one person the chance that I was right were 50%, if I argued with 3 people then it was a lot more than that. If I argued with more than that I was an idiot, because they all can't be wrong and me right.
However, here we have the "perfect case" where the whole world is wrong and only Assad is right. What a joke he makes out of himself.

Missing helicopter 06 January 2013, 19:50

In that case phillipo, how can 150 Million Arabs be wrong and 6 Million Israelis be right? I did not mean to disagree with your rule, but I was thinking loud.

Thumb jcamerican 06 January 2013, 22:29

Cute one.

Thumb andre.jabbour 07 January 2013, 00:48

Excellent argument!

Missing cedars 07 January 2013, 02:26

I would argue yes maybe there is double your number Jews in the world that have been medium to highly educated and have taken high ranking positions to convince or alter the ship to sail their way. case in point the 10 times Arabs have relied on the Gulf and rich countries to get less education.
i.e. The 6 million Jews in the US are enough to steer the ship and politics accordingly.

Missing cedars 06 January 2013, 16:52

No partner = You are assassinating them, those chanting brouh bil dam need to be educated what a democracy means in the 21century, if someone opposes them they should not assassinate with a car bomb, at which point the assassins followers will not become Al-Qaeda. You have created the problem and now it is biting you back in the butt. Remember Al-Sa3eka and Damour, they came from Syria, Remember Hizbollah and 200 Marines/Paratroopers, remember Lebanon recent car bombs and yes Samaha was not invented by the westerns/Gulf states but he rather was following Hobeika's footsteps before you were able to eliminate the mafia way such as Ghazi Ken3an.

Thumb LebDinosaur 06 January 2013, 18:25

Assad is still in denial mode. That's not good. He is totally out of touch.

Missing cedars 06 January 2013, 19:19

It is a shame, you could have been smarter and shared the empire with what you call slaves, instead you're doing it the same exact way you entered Zahle, Knat, East Beirut so that you can free the Golan from the Zionists. Guess what the same way you got ejected from Lebanon your one way street ideology is going to earn you a one way out of Syria.

Missing cedars 06 January 2013, 19:41

It is the same one way ideology of Hizbollah, we will not disarm until the entire country get destroyed such as in 2006 at which point The idiot will go on TV and say: If we had known the massive destruction of the Zionists that have caused the ENTIRE country we would not have kidnapped the Israeli soldier.

Missing helicopter 06 January 2013, 19:54

There are those who seek to partition Syria and weaken it," he said....... thanks to those who thought they owned all of Syria (and Lebanon) and stole all its resources for over 40 years.,

Missing peace 06 January 2013, 20:11

no M8ers to praise their leader and thank him for this marvellous speech? hiding i guess...

Missing samiam 06 January 2013, 20:15

National dialogue again--the time to talk for ASSad was over a year ago. No way he stays in power as he doesn't have legitimacy in the eyes of many countries and people. The reason why he can't find a partner is that they are either too far in bed with him (Iran/Russia) or just don't like him (about everyone else).

Thumb beiruti 06 January 2013, 20:17

How does he talk like this of his supposed negotiating interlocutors and then call for dialogue? This was not a conciliatory talk. More like a spoiled child following orders from his parents (the Russians) to make one last attempt at peaceful resolution (eating his spinach) before he gets banished to his room.
I suspect that Russia will be jumping off of the Assad ship soon so that its interests will not go down the drain with this rotten regime.

Missing raptor 07 January 2013, 02:46

The giraffe has spoken... Remember bashour, the longer ur neck, the easier to cut...

Thumb whyaskwhy 07 January 2013, 08:35

Khalas done lets have the next Zanga Zanga speech please from the Groundhog Giraffe.