Assad vows to preserve Syria's sovereignty
Updated: 2012-12-26 08:18
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to preserve Syria's sovereignty and independence as Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League joint special envoy to Syria, visited the country to seek ways to end the crisis.
Assad said on Monday that he is eager to make any efforts successful as long as they come within the framework of preserving Syria's sovereignty and independence and serve the interests of the Syrian people.
Assad made the remarks when meeting with Brahimi to discuss the latest developments in Syria.
Syria's state-run SANA News Agency reported that Brahimi briefed Assad on the outcome of his recent efforts to help find a solution to the Syrian crisis, describing their meeting as "cordial and constructive".
Brahimi said after the meeting that he and Assad exchanged opinions about future steps to help the Syrian people exit from the crisis.
Brahimi did not disclose the proposals on how to solve the crisis but said "the situation in Syria is still worrying", and he urged all parties to move ahead.
The international envoy reached Syria's capital, Damascus, on Sunday to meet Assad, government officials and some opposition factions. Brahimi denied that Assad originally didn't want to meet him but accepted his visit under Russia's mediation.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow on Monday that the Syrian government has ensured Russia that it will not use chemical weapons under any circumstances.
"Every time we hear rumors that the Syrians are doing something with chemical weapons, we double-check, we triple-check, we go directly to the government, and all the time we get very firm assurances that this is not going to be used under any circumstances," Lavrov said in an interview with the Russia Today TV channel.
It would be "political suicide" for the Syrian government if it uses chemical weapons, Lavrov said.
Meanwhile, Lavrov criticized the Western notion that if the rebels gain control of the chemical weapons, it would still be the fault of the Syrian government.