Le Figaro: Do you have proof that France has provided arms to the terrorists?
President al-Assad: It is evident enough through France’s political stance and its provocative role in the situation as dictated to it by Qatar and other countries.
President al-Assad: In January of this year we launched an initiative that addresses the points you raised and others in order to move forward with a political solution. However, this opposition that you refer to was manufactured abroad – manufactured by Qatar, France and others – it is not a Syrian opposition, and as such it takes orders from its masters who have forbidden it from engaging with this initiative. In addition to the fact that since they were manufactured abroad they lack local public support. Despite all their shortfalls, we did invite them but they did not respond.
President al-Assad: We have provided guarantees and I have spoken of these political points including guarantees of security to any member of the opposition wanting to come to Syria for the purpose of dialogue. However, they were either not willing to come or maybe they weren’t given permission to come. We have not killed or captured any member of the opposition. Abdul Aziz al-Khayer’s friends are all in Syria – you can see for yourself. Why would we target one of them and ignore the rest? Where is the logic in that?
Le Figaro: How do you explain the French position towards you today, you were once friends with Sarkozy and you enjoyed a friendly relationship with France and visited several times? How do you explain this U-turn?
French policy towards Syria is entirely based on American and Qatari desires
President al-Assad: It wasn’t a friendly relationship. It was clear from the beginning that France, at the request of the Americans, was trying to manipulate Syrian policy. Even the positive shift towards Syria in 2008 was due to Qatari influence, and so was the negative U-turn in 2011. It is very clear that French policy towards Syria is entirely based on American and Qatari desires.
Le Figaro: French Parliamentarians will meet on Wednesday. There is a big debate in France now, with some believing that Hollande has gone too far on this issue. What is your message to the French Parliamentarians before they convene and vote on the strike?
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