DAMASCUS, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday paid tribute to the souls of the innocent martyrs of the civilians and the military who have lost their lives since the early days of the events, stressing that their blood will not go in vain.
President al-Assad, addressing the People’s Assembly on the occasion of its first legislative term, eferring to the martyrs of the parliamentary candidates who were supposed to be part of “this big national workshop” on “this historic day”.
“To their souls and the souls of all innocent civilian and military martyrs who fell since the early days of the events, we stand in honor and high regard and send their families greetings and love and say to them ‘Their blood won’t go in vain’, and this is not be out of spite but out of the right as right is never lost unless it is abandoned by its holder.”
“Our only solace is that our homeland recovers and its sons live in security, peace, calm and stability,” the President added.
He expressed deep appreciation of the newly-elected members’ determination to run the elections under these delicate circumstances “which require us to have more courage, steadfastness and high sense of responsibility.”
The President said that the People’s Assembly is for all people, including peasants, farmers, employees, soldiers, doctors, engineers, lawyers, journalists, intellectuals and women, who aspire for a better, safer and more stable and prosperous future.
He stressed that “the legislative and monitoring tasks of the People’s Assembly’s members can’t be optimally done without possessing a clear developmental vision” which needs two factors to be fully developed.
“This first one,” President al-Assad continued, “is the constructive dialogue under this Assembly and among its members,” adding that the second factor is the communication with the citizens to get acquainted with the challenges and difficulties facing them and to listen to their solutions and proposals that enrich those of the Assembly’s members so as for their plans and programs to be closer to reality and meeting the citizens’ concerns.
The President reiterated that the success of any official at the legislative or executive power is directly and closely related to his relationship with the citizen and ability to draw ideas and plans from the citizens’ aspirations and need for a better life.
“If the citizen is the target for, then he/she should be the starting point,” he added.
President al-Assad said the concentration on the scrutiny role of the Assembly should not overlook its role of participation with the executive authority in suggesting solutions, adding that “this requires that the Assembly turn into a beehive of work and dialogue to be the dynamo of energy and the engine of the entire development process in Syria.”
The President said “the relationship between the legislative authority and the executive authority is not one of compliment or competition, but one of integration,” adding that the relationship of integration should be methodical in that it needs mechanisms, “which is the most important thing for any institution to start its work with.”
The President spoke of the Assembly’s scrutiny role of over the executive authority, stressing that scrutiny does not start when there is negligence on the part of the executive official but rather starts with planning and gets completed when there is negligence or faults.
He added the process of planning by the executive authority requires direct dialogue with the legislative authority, which is to discuss the plan and vision of each minister for the sector he/she is responsible, and then to practice the role of monitoring and observations.
“When there is negligence, the Assembly’s role then will be that of accountability, and it is at this point when the Assembly assumes the responsibility of discussion before the voters and citizens,” the President added.
President al-Assad addressed the People’s Assembly’s members saying that their legislative term, coming “at this decisive stage whose gravity exceeds that of what Syria has faced since the evacuation of the French colonialists”, requires an exceptional role to deal with two opposite forces; “one pushing backward in terms of the attempts to weaken Syria and contravene its sovereignty through killing, sabotage, underdevelopment and submission to the outside, and the other pushing forward in terms of determination on reform.”
“If standing in the face of the regional and universal attack on our country has not been that easy mission, similarly, adapting to the reforms and consolidating them is not an easy process too,” said President al-Assad.
“With these reforms we keep off a large part of the attack and build an invincible dam in the face of the regional and international ambitions, and our success in this depends on us realizing the requirements of reform on the official and popular level,” the President added, pointing out that “the people who have been able to absorb the scope and dimensions of the scheme drawn for Syria and the region and face it with big national determination and awareness are the same people who are able to absorb the requirements of reform.”
“It’s our duty towards these people…to upgrade our performance to the level of their awareness and steadfastness so as for us to have the right to take pride in representing them and the honor to work for them,” said President al-Assad.
He stressed that the government has announced since the first days of the crisis clear political steps to boost the development process, which were carried out within their stated schedules contrary to what the enemies expected.
“Despite denying what has been achieved in the political field by the external and internal forces which bet on the crisis, and despite the continuous attempts to foil the political process, we didn’t halt doing what we announced and started,” said the President, citing the issuance of a number of laws, the conducting of local administration elections and the constitution referendum, which came in response to those attempts.
President al-Assad said conducting the People’s Assembly Elections at their time when the killings, threats and terrorism were continuing was the decisive response by the people to the criminal killers and their leaders and sponsors.
“This constitutional and democratic step dealt a blow to those who wanted Syria to isolate itself and drown in the blood of its sons and go decades back,” added the President.
President al-Assad said the international role in what is taking place has been laid bare after a year and a half of the crisis as it has exposed itself by moving from failure to failure to be later forced to reveal the reality of its stance and intentions in the words of its officials themselves.
President al-Assad said for trying to find a solution to the crisis, “we need to learn from the people we belong to, being able to decipher the conspiracy, based on an unerring popular sense, patriotic collective memory and a moral accumulation which constituted a fort that has protected our society from distortion and our identity and traditions from extinction.”
“What we have learnt from our people is an old and simple yet profound principle: if we are to solve our problems, we have to face them, not to escape them…confronting a problem is more likely painful, yet it is effective,” President al-Assad pointed out.
He spoke of the relationship between the political solution and terrorism, which has increased since the beginning of the crisis, saying that terrorism hit all sides with no exclusion, and it was not part of the political discord and did not support a side against another, wondering if dialogue and the political solution could prevent the terrorists from doing what they have done till today.
The President continued that the political process is moving ahead, but terrorism is also escalating nonstop, as it was not effected with the new laws issued since the beginning of the crisis.
“The terrorist is not interested in reform or dialogue, being an assassin tasked with a particular mission; neither does he care for condemnation and the tears of widows and orphans. He won’t stop until his mission is accomplished regardless of anything, and unless we stop him” President al-Assad added.
He stressed that not separating between terrorism from the political process is a big mistake committed by some people, as it gives legitimacy to terrorism which is sought by the terrorists and their masters since the first day of the events, noting that it is essential to separate between terrorism and the political process to ‘know how to move towards improving the conditions we are living in.”
“We should realize that we do not face a political problem, because having a political problem, means that there should be a party that presents a political or economic program and then we face this party through its project, so we know from the very first day that the problem is not political.”
President al-Assad continued to say “What we are facing is a scheme of sedition and fragmenting the homeland, and the tool of that is terrorism…yet we have not saved any political way from the beginning.”
President al-Assad added, ”We don’t have a magic wand, and we’ve tried all political ways, including laws, changing the constitution and pardoning those involved in events…Even national dialogue, we don’t have a problem with it in principle, but such dialogue needs that well-known parties agree and then we can reach national dialogue.”
”When we say that we are facing terrorism, this means that it is a real war waged from abroad, not an internal political issue…and dealing with a war is totally different from dealing with an internal disagreement or with Syrian parties. This must be clear.”
On dialogue, President al-Assad said that there must be well-defined plans and visions on dialogue and the parties involved in it and their relation to the current events, and whether these parties are really influential. ”We have to know if they are parties who are riding the wave to score personal gains…and whether these parties should be publically represented so as to get engaged in dialogue or not. If the answer is ”It does not matter”, what is the benefit from a dialogue that does not concern people? If yes, how can we define that these parties represent a section of the population?”
”These powers have escaped from participation in the elections under the pretext of boycotting elections…When they boycotted elections, they were not boycotting the government, the state or the ruling party, but boycotting people, because elections are the people’s right…that’ s why no one can claim to be representing people while boycotting people at the same time…this is a glaring contradiction,” the President added.
”Any political process has to be based on the public state…Otherwise, it is factually null…the people expressed themselves when they turned out in their millions to voice rejection of foreign interference and tampering with the territorial integrity and unity of the homeland…they also expressed themselves through participation in the elections under such tough circumstances and the local administration elections earlier and their wide participation in the constitution referendum, despite threats and terrorism.”
President al-Assad went on to say ”Any political action has to be built on the bases set by the people. National dialogue is no exception…the forthcoming national dialogue has to be based on these bases so as not to remain pro forma dialogue that won’t yield results.”
President al-Assad continued ”I differentiated between a political process and a political solution…When you say a political solution, this means that what we’re doing now will improve the conditions, and we said that terrorism has nothing to do with the political action…that’s why I say a political course.”
President al-Assad indicated that this course started with the laws issued, the parties formed and the political pluralism that the constitution guaranteed, adding that the forthcoming elections have to be publically endorsed, either through the People’s Assembly which represents the people or through direct public referendum as was the case with the constitution referendum.
”We are ready for dialogue and there are different opposition powers, some of which voiced readiness and willingness to get engaged in dialogue while others haven’t…part of the national opposition participated in the elections and are here with us now, and they came to the People’s Assembly through the public base they represent.”
”But part of the opposition is, frankly speaking, waiting for certain balances abroad to happen, some are even waiting for dictates from abroad. We say, nonetheless, we are always ready to start dialogue without conditions, except with those who are linked to outside powers, or the powers who got involved in supporting terrorism or called for foreign interference.”
President al-Assad said ”There will be a new government soon that takes into consideration the new political powers , especially the new balance at the People’s Assembly. There is no backtracking on openness and reforms.”
President al-Assad said that terrorism targets the homeland which makes it a separate case that needs to be addressed for the homeland to recover, ”There is tolerating terrorism or anyone who backs it.”
”I would like to affirm again that the state doesn’t resort to vengeance. I affirm that the state won’t take revenge now or after the crisis ends…We tolerated non-Syrian people who harmed Syria…How could we not tolerate our fellow Syrians?”
President al-Assad stressed that national security is a red line…”The price may be high…Syria has so far paid a high price, but we’ll be ready to pay it to protect the fabric of the Syrian society.”
President al-Assad said that the political course does not solve the current crisis or reduce terrorism, ”The political solution is far broader than laws or constitution…It is linked to all the reasons that led into the crisis which allowed foreigners-assuming that those who claim to be Arabs are foreigners- to interfere in the Syrian internal affairs…This crisis has created problems that are likely to cause troubles for us in the future, that’s why we need a political solution, and the legislations we’ve enacted help up to a point…The political solution starts with dealing with the concepts that have surfaced during this crisis.”
”Political solution starts when we differentiate between the difference in viewpoints which means richness and the disagreement over the homeland which means destruction…Pluralism is an intellectual state before being a political one…The solution starts when we recognize that nations soar above differences in times of crises, that’s why the issue becomes whether you are with or against the homeland.”
”Some tend to confuse between being against the policy of the state or the performance of officials and being against the homeland…There are people who drew the line between the two, and there are people who joined the rallies in force who are opposed to the performance of a lot of officials, but they succeeded in differentiating between the two cases,” said the President.
President al-Assad continued ”There are people who were abused by an official or member of a certain institution, but this is not a pretext to take revenge upon the state institutions or the homeland…I personally met families of martyrs who were killed by mistake, and they told me that the homeland is above personal issues…Most of the Syrian people are of this kind.” The President said that the battle was imposed on the Syrians who are now in a position of defending their homeland, calling on them to build their ideas for solving the crisis on reality and not on emotions.
He reiterated the necessity of learning from the people how to build and defend the homeland based on knowledge and the right vision, referring to the millions of Syrians who took up the streets to support the reform process, not because they were against freedom or because they supported corruption, but because they were able to envision the future and realize that it was not a case of reform or democracy but one of undermining Syria’s resistant role and its support to resistance and commitment to its rights and divide the homeland.
The President warned that chaos is the natural environment to embrace terrorism, noting that those who first made fuss for a new era of freedom and democracy were promoting chaos without realizing what they were talking about, adding that the result was chaos which embraced terrorism.
He said that the price Syria has paid during the crisis was expensive on the security level, expecting the price to be paid after overcoming the crisis to be more expensive on the moral level in terms of the new concepts which penetrated a large part of the young generation in Syria including those of terrorism, violence, robbery and mercenary, considering this a very big challenge ahead to face.
The President said ‘standing in the middle’ in terms of patriotism is no longer accepted and can not be taken for ‘standing in the middle’ on the political level.
Responding to those who say that the president should be for all the people, President al-Assad said “a president is for all those standing under the umbrella of the homeland, the constitution and the law…therefore standing in the middle on the patriotic level is contrary to the constitution…and a betrayal of the patriotic trust.”
The President applauded the faith, great sacrifices, steadfastness and rare courage which the Armed Forces have showed in confronting the killing and terrorism facing the homeland’s sons, stressing the Syrian people’s embracement of the Armed Forces which reflected national unity in their steadfastness and adherence and therefore have become the target of the enemies for distorting the history of these forces.
The President added that it became clear for all the acts of counterfeit to attribute a lot of the heinous terrorist acts to the national Army establishment, and exploiting the mistakes by some individuals to show them as a method adopted by the State.
“Our armed forces’ establishment is a glorious edifice which built the homeland, defended it and protected its independence.. and it is not permissible to target a symbol that expresses our unity and dignity… so, we send our respect and appreciation to our honest soldiers who vowed themselves for the homeland,” President al-Assad said.The President added that in the last week and following al-Houla massacre, they accused the armed forces and said that the massacres took place because of a shelling and tanks, but then they retreated after they felt the popular embracement, so they moved to accuse pro-state militias as they call them.
“We have described what has happened in al-Houla, al-Kazzaz, al-Midan, Deir Ezzor and Aleppo as heinous, brutal massacres… in fact, even the monsters can’t perpetrate what we have seen, particularly al-Houla… and I think that the Arabic Language is not able to describe what we have seen,” President al-Assad said.
The President added that this is the natural human feeling for anyone, wondering “do we want to use these feelings to prevent more bloodshed and protect more children .”
“This reminds us of what has happened in the eighties of the last century when two sheikhs from two sects were killed in one city and it was nearly a sedition to break out, but the awareness of the families prevented that from happening … they have tried to repeat it now,” President al-Assad said.
He added “an oblivious question that we could ask in this case; who is the beneficiary… did the state or the pro-state persons perpetrate that act before the visit of Annan to make it a failure… we know who want to make it a failure.”
“The case is simple and obvious.. they started with stages during this crisis… they started with the case of popular revolution through which they expected to break out during several weeks, but they failed even in Ramadan.. after Ramadan they began with the armed act to confront the army and police, but they also failed … later they shifted into assassinations, explosions and terrifying the people, but they have failed due to the people’s steadfastness,” the President said.
President al-Assad added, “Today, we should all stand together for the homeland. Everyone should feel that they are responsible for fulfilling their duties to save the homeland as a policeman, a soldier or an officer should…. depending solely on the government is not enough as the crisis is not internal, rather it is an external war with internal tools. Every citizen is responsible for defending their homeland.”
He went on saying, “We have to work every day to find renewable resources, reorder the priorities and repair what has been destroyed in the infrastructure”, stressing that the youths are the pillar of the homeland as the government started to activate their role in several social, economic and legislative junctures.
President al-Assad addressed the members of the People’s Assembly saying, “the citizens who voted for you want you to be close to them to feel their pains and to achieve their aspirations.”