President Bashar al-Assad stressed that fighting terrorism demands a real political will and a conviction that the outcome will be in the interest of all inasmuch as the dangers jeopardize everyone.
“If this issue could be tackled based on that principle, surely we will have tangible positive results more quickly,” added the President, speaking during a meeting with a French delegation headed by Senate member, Head of the Senate’s French-Syrian Friendship Committee Jean-Pierre Vial.
Based on that logic, he said, Syria has always encouraged cooperation among countries considering that such cooperation is the most effective way to hold back terrorism and eventually eliminate it.
The President made it clear that Syria has always been and still is with developing and boosting relations with other countries on the basis of respecting sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs and maintaining common interests.
He stressed the significant role which parliamentarians could play in rationalizing the government policies in a way that allows realizing the peoples’ interests. Talks during the meeting, which were marked by frankness and openness, touched upon the Syrian-French relations and the developments and challenges facing the Arab and European regions especially with regard to terrorism.
The President’s view on developing relations was echoed by the French delegation members who voiced their belief in the necessity of joint work in the various fields to the best interest of the people of Syria and France.
It is in France’s best interest to have security and stability consolidated in the region and to cooperate with Syria to curb terrorism, which has come to pose a threat to Europe too and not just the people of the Middle East region, the delegation members added.
They conveyed the desire of many French parliamentarians to visit Syria to get familiar with the situation there so that they could convey the truth about it to the French people. The French figures stressed the importance of coordination and information exchange between Syria and France in issues of mutual interest.
The visiting delegation includes Jacques Myard, member of the National Assembly of France, deputy chairman of the Assembly’s French-Syrian Friendship Committee and Mayor of Maisone-Laffitte city and François Zocchetto, member of the Senate and Mayor of Laval city, General Inspector at the French Defense Ministry and Security Advisor at the French Embassy in Beirut.
The French delegation also met Speaker of People’s Assembly Mohamad Jihad Laham where talks were focused on enhancing relations and dialogue among parliamentarians for the interest of stability and joint interests.
Later, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem met the French parliamentary delegation, discussing with them developments in Syria and in the regional and international arenas.
Al-Moallem affirmed that the takfiri terrorism targeting Syria poses a threat to international peace and stability, citing the attacks that occurred in Paris and other city, which proves the need to unite efforts to combat terrorism according to international law.
On the situation in Syria, al-Moallem said that Syria will continue to combat terrorism and cooperate with all honest efforts seeking to resolve the crisis via reconciliation and inter-Syrian dialogue without foreign interference, affirming the Syrians’ commitment to sovereignty and independent decision-making.
Grand Mufti of the Republic Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun also received the delegation in a meeting attended by Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All East Gregory III Laham, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All East John X Yazigi, and other religious figures.
Hassoun told the delegation that the secret of Syria’s strength is its diversity, saying that France should support Syria instead of being against it as it should be aware that Syria’s culture is capable of creating peace in the region and standing up to terrorism.
In turn, Patriarch Laham pointed out to the role of the Catholic Church and the Pope in confronting terrorism, asserting that Christianity in Syria has deep roots and will persist no matter how hard terrorists try to uproot it. For his part, Patriarch Yazigi said that Christianity spread from Syria to Eruope and the rest of the world, but today Syrian Christians are subjected to terrorism brought from all over the world, adding that France and the rest of the world must wake up and act to prevent the spread of terrorism.
The members of the delegation said they came to Syria to say that the French people are against what terrorists are doing in Syria and to relay the truth of what is happening so that they can relay it to the French people who are misled by media propaganda.
On a relevant note, the French delegation visited Charles de Gaulle School in al-Mazzeh area in Damascus where the met its administrative staff, and also visited the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) mission in Damascus, meeting the head of the mission Marianne Gasser.