27-03-2015 | 10:32
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said expressed his country's readiness to host a Russian naval base on its territory.
"The West is using the same tactic in Syria as it is in Ukraine, aiming to weaken Russia by creating puppet states around it," he said.
In an interview to be published Friday, al-Assad said: "There is a connection between the Syrian crisis and what is happening in Ukraine. Firstly, because both countries are important for Russia. Secondly, because there is a goal in both cases to weaken Russia and create puppet states."
The Syrian president said the West does not have a political solution to the crisis in Syria, claiming it is only interested in destroying the government.
"They want to turn us into puppets. I do not think that the West has a political solution. It does not want one. When I say the West, I am primarily referring to the US, France, and the UK. Other countries are secondary."
Al-Assad explained that his goal as president involves successfully repelling foreign involvement in the country. "It is clear that the duty of any state is to protect the interests of the people and the country. And, of course, the role of the government is to implement these interests," he said.
When asked about the Russian naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartus, al-Assad said that his government would support the idea of reviving and expanding it into a military base, should Moscow seek such an option.
"We welcome the expansion of Russian presence in [the] eastern Mediterranean, especially near our shores and in our ports," he said.
Al-Assad stressed that Russia's presence provided a certain sense of balance in the region. He added that in the past, the more visible Moscow's influence was in the region, the more stable the area became.
"US-led airstrikes targeting the "ISIL" positions in Syria do not cause serious damage to the terrorists. Instead, they destroy civilian infrastructure in the country," al-Assad stressed.
The Syrian leader criticized the coalition for its lack of quality and quantity of airstrikes. "It is possible that some of the countries involved do not want the "ISIL's" expansion in Syria and Iraq, but at the same time, it does not look like they want to finish "ISIL". They want to use this terrorist organization to threaten and blackmail other states."
"The peacekeeping force is usually based between countries at war with each other. And when someone talks about sending peacekeepers to deal with "ISIL", that acknowledges "ISIL" as a state. Such rhetoric is unacceptable and dangerous," al-Assad stressed.
The Syrian president stated that Damascus has no direct contact with the US and is not involved in any discussions.
"Certain ideas get passed down through third parties, but that cannot be considered as serious dialogue," al-Assad said, adding that the only option for his country is to wait for American policies to change.
According to the Syrian leader's point of view, there are two political camps in the US - a peace-leaning one and a more radical, aggressive one. The former is "a minority," while the latter calls all the shots in foreign policy.
However, al-Assad added in an interview with CBS' ‘60 Minutes' that Syria is open to dialogue with the US.
"As principal, in Syria we could say that every dialogue is a positive thing, and we are going to be open to any dialogue with anyone, including the United States, regarding anything based on mutual respect...without pressuring the sovereignty of Syria," al-Assad stated.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
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