Syria calls for constructive dialogue with US

January 31st, 2009 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaDamascus, Jan 31 (Xinhua) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Saturday stressed the need to begin a “positive and constructive” dialogue with the US.Assad made the remarks while meeting a visiting US congressional delegation headed by Adam Smith, noting that the dialogue should be built on the basis of mutual interests and reciprocal respect, according to the official SANA news agency.

Assad also reviewed Syria’s vision of the situation in the Middle East, particularly following the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip, said the report.

In turn, the American delegation underlined Syria’s important role in the region, expressing the new US administration’s desire to develop the Syrian-American relations in the service of stability in the Middle East, the report said.

During an interview Monday with Lebanon’s al-Manar TV, mouthpiece of the Islamic Hezbollah movement, Assad said his country was willing to conduct dialogue with the US without any preconditions.

“If there were preconditions, there won’t be dialogue, they know this thing,” Assad said, adding that “I think dialogue has started many weeks ago seriously through figures close to the US administration”.

Syria was under continuous isolation during George W. Bush’s administration, which demanded Damascus stop supporting militant Palestinian groups and the Lebanese Hezbollah, sever its ties with Iran and control its borders with Iraq and stem anti-US infiltrators from crossing into Iraq.

Assad also expressed, during the interview, cautious hope that US President Barack Obama could bring peace to the region instead of wars.

“But I return to say we have to be aware because there are a big number of balances in the US itself and we don’t know what the European role is,” he added.

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