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Al-Assad to Mitchell: Attaining peace requires end of occupation and restoration of rights…Turkey’s role is significant

January 24, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad this week met with Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), ex-Senator George Mitchell. On the table for discussion were Syrian-US bilateral relations and the current state of the peace process in the region.

An official Syrian media source said that President Al-Assad was briefed by Mr. Mitchell on American efforts to push forward the peace process on all tracks before unveiling to his guest Syria’s preliminary position on attaining a fair and comprehensive peace. The President pointed out that “a government that openly announces its unwillingness to work towards achieving peace can’t be considered a partner in the peace process.”

President Al-Assad went on to say, “Establishing peace necessitates the end of occupation and the restoration of rights,” and referred to Turkey’s important role in the peace process. He also emphasized that peace contributes to the solution of many of the thorniest issues in the Middle East, so much so that any delay will increase their complexity.

George Mitchell told reporters that he is looking forward to a positive relationship between the United States and Syria to achieve tangible progress in the peace process and bilateral relations. The US envoy added that his talks with President Al-Assad tackled a broad spectrum of topics which he described as “important and related to” relations between the two countries.

“President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton are committed to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East on the Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese levels,” he added.

Mr. Mitchell also insisted that Syria’s role in these efforts is as important as the roles of the United States and the international community, noting that his hosts’ role was on the top of his talks with President Al-Assad. He also revealed that he looks forward to returning to Damascus in the near future.

Also in attendance at the meeting was Syria’s Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moallem, the Presidential Political and Media Advisor, Bouthaina Sha’ban, the Deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal Mikdad, and the delegation accompanying Mr. Mitchell.


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