Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said in an interview, “every dialogue is a positive thing, and we are going to be open to any dialogue with anyone, including the United States”.
In an interview for CBS News’s ’60 Minutes’, Bashar Hafez al-Assad said that he would be open to a dialogue with the US, only if it’s based on mutual respect and does not undermine Syria’s sovereignty (over 200,000 have died in the last four years of the civil war). The United States has stated that its objective, is to fight the Islamic group ISIL, and is not willing to negotiate with the current president of Syria. The new ’60 Minutes’ interview will be aired Sunday.
Asked in an excerpt of the interview that aired on Thursday about recent comments by US Secretary of State John Kerry that Washington would have to negotiate with the Syrian leader to end the conflict there, Assad said: “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.”
While saying there had been no direct communication between Damascus and Washington, Assad, who has been fighting 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, US 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.
Washington has made clear its top priority in Syria is the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, who have seized large parts of the country as well as parts of Iraq.
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