Saturday, 9 July 2011

Shaaban: U.S. Ambassador Didn't Ask for Permission to Visit Hama, His Arrival at Time of Trying to Solve the Problem Is an Attempt to Prevent Solution

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Jul 09, 2011


Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban said there is great protest and resentment among the Syrian people over the U.S. State Department's statement on Friday about the presence of the U.S. Ambassador in Hama and his intention to stay in it till Friday.

"The U.S. Ambassador didn't ask for permission to visit Hama," said Dr. Shaaban in a statement to the BBC Arabic channel on Friday.

"This is considered an escalation on the part of the U.S. Ambassador. Never before an ambassador visited a city with a problem like the case of Hama without permission," stated Dr. Shaaban, wondering at the statement issued by the U.S. State Department which announced the Ambassador's presence in Hama and said he intends to stay till today.
The Presidential Advisor said "What is most important than all of this is that the U.S. Ambassador arrived at the moment when a meeting is prepared between the residents, mosque imams and the civil authorities in the city aimed at finding a solution to the problem. This means that his arrival is an attempt to prevent solving the problem."

She wondered how the Ambassador was able to reach areas the roads leading to which were blocked by saboteurs, rioters and gunmen.

"By whose help was he able to reach al-Sreijeh Mosque without being encountered by any of the gunmen in the streets who have blocked employees in Hama from reaching their jobs for the fourth day in a row."
Dr. Shaaban made it clear that the U.S. Ambassador had not asked for a permission to visit Hama, noting that the U.S. Embassy had asked such permission for the U.S. Military Attaché to go to Hama, which wasn't granted.

"Syria doesn't want to cut the thinnest thread with the U.S. Administration, but there is great protest and resentment among the Syrian people about the U.S. State Department's statement that the Ambassador is in Hama and intends to stay till Friday on the eve of the national dialogue conference due to be held among all spectrums of the Syrian society…this gives us a message that the US says 'No' to dialogue," said Dr. Shaaban.

She pointed out that if the US wants the democratic and reform track in Syria, then why it has not voiced its support to the dialogue which has resulted from this track.

"There are enough national opposition members from all the spectrums who will attend this dialogue. But we haven't heard one word from the West that encourages dialogue among the Syrian people," Dr. Shaaban added.

Answering a question on U.S involvement in the events in Syria, Dr. Shaaban said "This has become quite clear. The U.S. Ambassador's presence in Hama and in areas which no Syrian citizen can access unless he is with the gunmen is evidence on that."

She pointed out that Syria is keeping its handling of the riot acts at a minimum, asking "What happens if in any Western city gunmen set up roadblocks and block employees from accessing their offices? In this case, what happens is that the city will be bombed by aircrafts and the issue will be tackled with bulldozers."

"We tell the West that the measures the Syrian government is taking against the gunmen, saboteurs and rioters and those who back them are the minimum…the Syrians are demanding much more in order to put an end to this abnormal situation in Syria," said Dr. Shaaban.

20110708-215158.jpgReplying to a question on whether the security solution will continue in dealing with the events and demonstrations in Syria, Dr. Shaaban wondered about those who are behind this, asking "Who killed more than 500 officers and members of the army and the Syrian intelligence?...The West refuses to admit there are gunmen who are killing people and it hasn't condemned that."

The Presidential Advisor said that Syria has condemned all forms of killing, highlighting that none of the West have condemned the killing of the Syrian officers, and none of the Syrian opposition have condemned that too, stressign that no country in the world tolerates vandalism and chaos.

Answering a question on reform and transition to democracy in Syria, Dr. Shaaban said that reform, dialogue and change figured in President Bashar al-Assad's speech, which is a full-fledged reform program.

In reply to a question on who is responsible for the killing in Syria, Dr. Shaaban asked ''Who is killing the Syrian army and security?'' adding, ''If you came under an armed attack, what would you do? Violence comes from the armed members and saboteurs in the streets.''
Dr. Shaaban also indicated that the students could not take their exams in Hama and the factories shut down, and the shops are being closed at gunpoint, which is an aberrant state.
Answering a question on the move the Syrian Foreign Ministry intends to take in response to the conduct of the US Ambassador, Shaaban said ''This is up to the Syrian leadership to decide. These are relations among countries decided upon by the state.''

On the National Dialogue Conference due on July 10 and with whom dialogue will be in light of the oppositions' rejection of dialogue, Shaaban said ''Those who turned down dialogue are few, which is their own business. This is a national moment, and at such national moments the opposition, the state and all the social spectrums should be hand in hand to save the country and set it on the right track.''

On whether those who agreed to dialogue have an actual representation in the Syrian street, Shaaban said ''Those who agreed to dialogue have an actual participation in the Syrian street, far more than those who turned it down. And those who rebuffed dialogue don't deny that they don't have much representation.''

''Those who will come to dialogue from across the spectra enjoy the real representation in the Syrian street, and it is them who will push this country forward through a democratic and multilateral approach which President al-Assad spoke about.''

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On the anticipated protests on Friday, Shaaban said ''Maybe this is due to the incitement in Hama and the presence of some ambassadors there just to ensure that protests occur,'' stressing that the Syrian people turned out in their millions over the past weeks across the Syrian provinces and cities in support of reform, which is probably the reason behind the meetings of some with the Zionists in Paris and the attempts at personal interference by some ambassadors in Hama.''

''The Syrian people in their entirety say: Yes to dialogue…and dialogue will be underway on Sunday. Reform is underway, and Syria will be safe and healthy to resume its regional and international role, God willing,'' Shaaban said.

Answering a question on saying the situation in Syria is improving by the week while what we see proves the opposite, Shaaban said ''What would I do if you in BBC go to videotape the protests instigated by those who are pro-West, while you refrain from videotaping the million-strong march in Aleppo and Damascus and the mass rallies all over Syria?''

20110706-230450.jpg''Sky News and CNN were in Syria, videotaping only those who reject dialogue among the Syrian people, who I suppose don't even want Syria out of the deadlock.''

In reply to a question on an extraordinary session of the People's Assembly to discuss all the decisions about the laws of the parties', media etc.., Shaaban said ''I do not want to preempt events on this, but I'd like to say that all the laws that President al-Assad spoke about will be issued at the set date by the end of August, and committees will be set up to review the constitution and redraft certain articles,'' promising that all the promises of President al-Assad will have been delivered by the end of September.
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