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F.A.Z.-Interview with Bashar al-Assad : „Europe’s backyard would become a terrorist haven“

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Why then did you reject the U.N. inspection mission?

We will eventually see that France and Great Britain are not telling the truth. They wanted the inspectors to receive access to all sites and to conduct the same type of work they did in Iraq. During this work, they intervened in affairs that went beyond their mandate. We are a state, we have our army, and we have our secrets. We will not allow others to learn our secrets - not the United Nations, not France, not Great Britain and not anyone else.

Why is the Syrian army bombing residential areas?

We will pursue terrorists wherever they go. And they often go into residential areas. Take Qusair as an example. Western media reports spoke of 50000 civilians in Qusair. The number of residents in this town was originally much lower. When the terrorists seized this town, many residents left. We encountered virtually no civilians when we moved into Qusair. When the terrorists arrive, civilians leave all areas and fighting ensues. Evidence of this is the fact that most of the victims are members of the military. The civilians were killed by the terrorists, who execute people and use civilians as human shields. A large number of civilians were killed by suicide bombers or car bombs. The rest of the fatalities can be attributed to either Syrian or foreign-born terrorists.

After your army seized the city of Qusair, why didn’t you use the opportunity to extend a hand of national reconciliation to the opposition?

From the very beginning, we have reached out to anyone who wanted to engage in dialogue. We have not altered this stance. At the beginning of the crisis, we conducted a national dialogue conference. At the same time, we were fighting the terrorists. When we talk about the opposition, we should not lump everyone together. We should not put terrorists and politicians into the same camp. In Germany, there is an opposition. But it does not carry weapons. When we speak of the opposition, we are talking about politicians. We are always willing to engage in dialogue with these politicians. This has nothing to do with Qusair. I do not believe that national reconciliation is a suitable term. What is happening in our country is not a civil war like the one in Lebanon. It is also not an issue like the one between whites and blacks in South Africa. It is about a dialogue that aims to find a way out of the crisis and to prompt the terrorists to lay down their arms. The Geneva peace conference will pursue these stated political aims. Thus, the political process has not come to a standstill. But there are external obstacles - Turkey, Qatar, Saudi-Arabia, France and Great Britain. They do not want to engage in dialogue. Rather, they want the unrest to continue, which is delaying dialogue and a political solution.

With whom are you willing to sit down and negotiate?

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Ist das erlaubt? Ein Mann und eine Frau auf einer Bank im bayerischen Staffelberg.

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Was ist erlaubt in Zeiten des Kontaktverbots? In Sachsen müssen Richter klären, wie weit das Lebensumfeld eines Menschen reicht. Und in Bayern wird diskutiert, ob man sich noch mit einem Buch auf die Bank setzen darf.
Unser Autor: Bastian Benrath

F.A.Z.-Newsletter : Lange Nächte in Brüssel

Die EU-Finanzminister verhandeln weiter über ein Virus-Hilfspaket, die Opec-Staaten beraten über den niedrigen Ölpreis und die ersten Erntehelfer aus Osteuropa werden eingeflogen. Was sonst wichtig wird, steht im F.A.Z.-Newsletter für Deutschland.

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