Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said on Monday that he could run for president in the elections slated to take place in 2014, and reiterated that the conditions to make the Geneva II conference on Syria a success have not yet been achieved.
Speaking to the Arabic television channel Al-Mayadeen based in Lebanon, Al-Assad conveyed that he did not personally see anything preventing him from running in the upcoming presidential elections.
When asked whether or not the atmosphere in Syria is appropriate for elections, he responded that: “Personally, I do not see any problem in holding the elections and running for the presidency; but popularly, it is too early to speak about it right now.”
Al-Assad urged the UN envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, to adhere to his duties as a mediator and observer of the dialogue between the different forces, and to abandon the tasks entrusted to him by other countries, pointing out that Brahimi tried to convince him during his third visit that he should not run in the 2014 presidential elections. Al-Assad explained that this is a Syrian issue that is non-negotiable with non-Syrians, failing to recognise that the Syrian opposition is firmly against him running.
Regarding the proposed Geneva II conference on the Syrian conflict, slated to be held on 24 November, he observed that: “There is no official date for it until now, as well as no progress on the factors that would make the conference a success.”
Moscow and Washington have been trying to prepare for the Geneva II conference in the hopes of discussing potential solutions to the two and half year old conflict, which has so far resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and millions of internally and externally displaced.
During the interview, Al-Assad accused many countries of supporting terrorism, including Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, suggesting that these countries are carrying out US policies. Assad insisted that he refuses to negotiate with these countries and will only negotiate with their leader.
Al-Assad also accused Turkey of opening up “camps, airports and borders to terrorists”, saying that his disagreement with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is based on “ideology because he (Erdogan) belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood and the group is more important to him than his people”.
Al-Assad described the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, calling its members opportunists who go from terrorism to more terrorism, saying that he will not have any dialogue with them unless they abandon arms.
He had told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine earlier that, “the conflict in Syria cannot be resolved through negotiations with the militants. To conduct any negotiations, the opposition must abandon their weapons beforehand.”
He said the Syrian crisis would only be resolved when the financial support to terrorist groups ends.