Syria has no pre-conditions for dialogue: FM
Updated: 2013-05-30 03:30
DAMASCUS - Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al- Moallem said Wednesday that his government has no pre-conditions for holding peace talks, however, excluding those who have Syrians ' blood smeared over their hands.
Al-Moallem made the remarks during an interview with pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV, saying his government has not been invited to the conference, but Damascus is ready for dialogue without pre- conditions, excluding "those who have Syrians' blood smeared over their hands."
He added that the results of the Geneva conference would be put for popular referendum before being "literally" implemented, stressing President Bashar al-Assad will remain in his post until the presidential elections in 2014.
Al-Moallem also slammed some remarks from the opposition and their western allies about the destiny of Assad and their desire for him to resign as a pre-condition for political settlement.
"President Assad is in contact with his people and the election in 2014 is in the hand of the Syrian people," the minister said, adding that "if the people in 2014 wanted Assad to run for the elections, he will do."
Regarding the recent French allegations about the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons in the fight against the rebels, al-Moallem said "France is a liar."
"The chemical weapons was only used once by the armed opposition in March in the northern city of Khan al-Asal," he reiterated, adding that his government had immediately asked the UN to send a technical team to probe the incident.
"(But) we will not allow any (UN) team to wreak havoc in Syria because the UN mission that went into Iraq (before 2003) led to its invasion later... and we will not allow a repetition of the Iraqi scenario," al-Moallem said.
As for Israel's latest airstrike against Syrian army positions in Damascus earlier this May, the head of Syria's diplomacy said that his country will respond in case of further aggressions by Israel. "Our response will be proportionate to the scale of the attack," he contended.
Asked about Syria's Arms deals with Russia, al-Moallem said " Russia gives us only defensive weapons."
The arms deals issue was highlighted recently as Moscow announced that it was sending Russian-made long-range S-300 anti- aircraft missiles to Syria.
Moscow said recently that sending the missiles to Syria constitutes "a stability factor" and prevents foreign forces from interfering in the country, adding that the shipment is being carried out according to a contract signed between Syria and Russia five years ago.