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Syria’s Information Minister: All Opposition Forces are Invited to Participate in the National Dialogue

Information Minister: All Opposition Forces Are Invited to Participate in National Dialogue
Jan 08, 2013

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Minister of Information, Omran al-Zoubi, said the Cabinet held a meeting in the framework of implementing the presidential commissioning towards finding mechanisms and putting into effect the ideas and the national program which were included in President Bashar al-Assad’s speech for solving the crisis in Syria.

The Minister added in press statements on Tuesday that the discussions at the Cabinet session dealt with all the details of the crisis the country is going through from a historical and temporal aspect since the very start of the events.

Al-Zoubi noted that the internal and external political situation and the current challenges and the capabilities available were all on the table.

He told the journalists that the situation was being looked at with “a deep and serious view” based on a national basis according to the indisputable concepts of the national sovereignty and the independence of the national decision.

The Minister reiterated that the discussion addressed all aspects starting with that related to violence and terrorism and terrorist organizations and members and passing through issues concerning the economy, public freedoms, human rights and detainees as well as the details and essence of the national dialogue and how it should be conducted and with whom.

He described the discussion as “long, comprehensive and difficult as there are many views, suggestions and concepts,” pointing out that there will be a committee of the Cabinet that will start contacting all political national and societal forces and figures as to pave the way for holding the national dialogue conference.

The Information Minister affirmed that “all opposition forces are invited to participate in a national dialogue unconditionally that is based on respecting national sovereignty and the rejection of foreign interference in all its forms.”

He explained that the rejection of external interference should include all its forms and not only that of the indirect foreign military intervention through providing and sending the gunmen, which the Minister said must be rejected by the opposition who wants to take part in the dialogue.

Al-Zoubi added that the dialogue should also be based as well on rejecting the acts of domination and guardianship over the independent and sovereign national decision.

“All issues except for those are subject to discussion at the dialogue table, and there is no intention to exclude anybody,” he reaffirmed.

The Minister pointed out that the political solution was not brought up for the first time in President al-Assad’s speech as “it has been proposed since the Consultative Meeting held in July, 2011 as a reflection of the state’s desire, belief and conviction that the political solution is the only solution to the crisis.”

He stressed that some parties have predetermined positions towards all the plans put forth by the Syrian leadership, which was made clear in how  “some opposition figures at home and abroad inexplicably rush to interpret the speech and build their political stances onto this.”

“There are others who have been throughout the crisis suffering from phobia about dialogue with the state and paranoia about everything and they keep falling in the trap of high-flown political sentences,” al-Zoubi added.

He stressed that these stances do not help in solving the problem. “However, what helps solving it is to go for generating national solutions through national dialogue that doesn’t exclude anyone, with always differentiating between the foreign terrorist existing in Syria and the national political forces regardless of their orientations,” the Minister added.

Al-Zoubi affirmed that Syria’s relations with its friends “are more than excellent” and are “strong and firm”, noting that the timing of President al-Assad’s speech “is not connected to any particular occasion on incident as except that the Syrian leadership saw that the situation has become mature to deliver this national program which aims at overcoming the crisis.”

Asked on whether the President’s speech has affected the Russian-U.S. talks with the UN Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, the Information Minister asserted that “President al-Assad was very clear in his speech when he talked about Geneva and said that there were some ambiguous points which were later clarified regarding a government with expanded authorities.”

Commenting on the description of President al-Assad’s speech as “detached from reality” by the U.S. State Department Spokesperson and the U.S. State Department and the German and Italian Foreign Ministers and some opposition figures abroad, which al-Zoubi said came in less than two hours, the Minister expressed wonder “how it was possible for some foreign ministries to take a position on this speech even before having enough time to translate it.”

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