Damascus Waiting for Washington's Practical Actions: Assad
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Syria's President Bashar al-Assad shrugged off US Secretary of State John Kerry's recent remarks on the future of the Arab country, saying that Damascus is waiting for "practical measures" by Washington to help end the Syrian crisis.
In an interview with the IRIB on Monday, Assad said Syria waits for practical steps from the United States.
He made the remark in response to Kerry's comments about negotiating with Syria.
In an interview with CBS News broadcast on Sunday, Kerry said the United States will have to negotiate with Syrian president for a political transition in Syria and is exploring ways to pressure him into agreeing to talks.
"We've always been willing to negotiate in the context of the Geneva I process," he said.
Kerry in that interview did not repeat the standard US line that Assad had lost all legitimacy and had to go.
Assad said that any changes in the international position on Syria would be a positive move if they “are sincere and have practical effects”.
He further stressed that it is the Syrian people who should decide on the future of the country's president, describing any comments by foreigners in this regard as insignificant.
Washington has long insisted that Assad must be replaced through a negotiated, political transition, but the rise of a common enemy, hardline militant group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), appears to have slightly softened the West's stance towards him.
Syria's civil war is now into its fifth year, with hundreds of thousands killed and millions of Syrians displaced.