President Bashar al-Assad presided over the first meeting of the new Syrian government after it was sworn in. Amid the growing protest movement in his country, Assad said: "The new government means for the citizens new blood and new blood means new and great hopes."
The Syrian leader added .."The world is changing rapidly around us and we have to walk in the same speed so that we can say that we evolve."
Al-Assad went on to say: "The challenges ahead of the government, state institutions and citizens are huge and we must close this gap to create channels between us and the people. We must boost citizens' confidence in state institutions."
And he stressed: "That trust can not only come through full transparency with the citizens. Such transparency is able to give sufficient public support for the government to accomplish its tasks."