Sunday, 10 July 2011

Syria Launches National Dialogue

Syrian officials and delegates attend the national dialogue meeting in Damascus on July 10, 2011.

Syrian Republic has opened the national dialogue on Sunday as a step towards multi-party democracy. However, some opposition parties refused to participate.

Syrians raise largest national flag to support reform program, reject foreign interference Delegates observed a minute's silence in memory of the "martyrs" before the playing of the national anthem.

"We are going to hold a comprehensive national dialogue during which we will announce Syria's transition towards a multi-party democratic state in which everyone will be equal and able to participate in the building of the nation's future," Vice President Faruq al-Shara said in his opening ddress.

President Bashar al-Assad announced the dialogue in a keynote speech on June 20.

Delegates were expected to include some independent MPs as well as members of the Baath party.
The government said that delegates would be invited to discuss a whole raft of reforms, including amending Clause Eight of the constitution which enshrines the leading role of the Baath party in Syrian political life.

Moreover, youth activists in the city of Lattakia are to rise on Sunday the longest Syria flag, 16 Kilometers length and 4.5 meters wide, presenting a public initiative to support the reform project and the national dialogue, and to express refusal against foreign interference in the Syrian internal affairs.

20110710-151847.jpg Consultative Meeting for Comprehensive National Dialogue Opens

Jul 10, 2011

DAMASCUS, (SANA)- Vice President Farouk al-Shara on Sunday said the tenth of July, which marks the beginning of national dialogue, is not like other days "as we hope it will conduce to a comprehensive conference that announces the transformation of Syria into a pluralistic, democratic state where its citizens are equal and participate in the formation of their homeland's future."

Al-Shara, head of the National Dialogue Commission, was speaking at the opening of the activities of the Consultative Meeting for Comprehensive National Dialogue, announced by President Bashar al-Assad in his latest speech at Damascus University, with the participation of different Syrian political, party independent, opposition, academic and youth activist figures.

"Invitations for this meeting were directed to national figures from all affiliations and party trends including the Baath Party, the National Progressive Front, independent, opposition and intellectual figures and from the different spectrums of the Syrian people," said Vice President.
20110710-151906.jpgHe added that more national personalities will be invited to the comprehensive conference to be prepared following the end of this consultative meeting.

He pointed out that "dialogue is being launched in not so comfortable atmosphere, whether inside and outside…an atmosphere of uncertainty and distrust, of rejection and worry," adding that shifting in the track of laws and from one situation to another can not happen that smoothly without being confronted with obstacles, sometimes natural and made up in other times.

"The counter plans of others, whether prepared in advance or fabricated in a hurry, were mostly based on a great amount of mistakes and waste which we used to throw under our carpets without profound contemplation and consideration of the days to come," said al-Shara, adding that the already prepared plans depended also on information surprises on the level of the world which with skillfully employed its media tools in the events instead of using advanced weaponry as was usual in the wars of last century.

Vice President addressed the attendees that conveying their voices is a legitimate right as all the other demands related to the people's livelihood, saying "this dialogue is not a favor from any one and it should not be considered a condescension on the part of the government for the people, but it is the duty of each citizen based on deep belief that the people are the source of authorities like all developed countries."

Al-Shara announced a clear decision issued by the leadership which stipulates for not placing any illegal obstacles in the way of the travel or return of any Syrian citizen to their homeland, noting that the interior Minister was informed of this decision to be enforced within a week from its date.

Al-Shara commented that punishing those with different intellectual or political views and opinions in this way will lead them to seek security and protection from the other societies.
Al-Shara pointed out that dialogue is not a simple issue and not always obtainable for everybody, stressing there is no substitute for dialogue at the current situation except the bloody and economic bleeding and self-destruction and the idea of no-dialogue has no political prospect and is not a popular demand.

"National dialogue, which is irreversible, is the most consistent and in line with the history of Syria and its generous people," said al-Shara, expressing his optimism over this national dialogue and calling on the attendees to be optimistic as well.

Vice President noted that the full implementation of the issued laws, which were not totally enforced under the current circumstances, particularly the law of lifting the state of emergency in Syria, can guarantee taking Syria to a new developed phase, adding this requires all to have the sense of historic responsibility to get out of this vicious circle.

In this context, al-Shara noted that the unauthorized demonstration leads to unjustified violence which will result in claiming the lives of more civilians and military personnel.
"Our society will not be able to achieve freedom and civil peace without a democratic, pluralistic political system…if the Syrian people succeed in moving peacefully towards democracy in cooperation among all their spectrums and without any foreign interference, they will succeed in ending this vicious circle of heated debate between the political solution and the security solution and isolating all those who don't care for the future of this homeland or for the change under its umbrella," said al-Shara.

He added that national dialogue should continue politically on all levels and among the various spectrums of the Syria people to turn the page on the past and open a new page in the history of Syria.
H. Zain/ Ghossoun/H. Said

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