Assad says Syria prepared to contribute to Iraq stabilization
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Damascus was ready to contribute to international efforts to stabilize Iraq at the start of a two-day official visit to Spain.
Speaking at a banquet hosted by King Juan Carlos at Madrid's royal palace, Assad reiterated that Damascus was "prepared to contribute to all international efforts to eliminate factors of unrest" in Iraq.
Syria would take part in wiping out "tension, in stabilizing Iraq and in rebuilding it, and in improving the situation of the Iraqi people".
For his part, Juan Carlos stressed that the future of Iraq could only be that of "an independent, sovereign country, at peace with its neighbours and whose territorial integrity is guaranteed."
"Spain is convinced that the United Nations must play in key role in the search for a solution," he added.
Assad arrived earlier the day in Madrid for a two-day official visit with the troubled situation in Iraq and the Middle East conflict set to top his agenda in talks with Spanish leaders.
The Syrian leader expressed his solidarity with the Spanish people following the March 11 train bombings which killed 191 people in Madrid.
With regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he expressed hope that the peace process could be rekindled once "the obstacles in its way have been removed".
Assad also stressed his attachment to the principles adopted at the 1991 Middle East peace conference, which stipulated the return of Arab territory lost to Israel following the 1967 war as part of any peace deal.
Damascus "highly appreciates Spain's position" in the conflict, he said.
Juan Carlos for his part reiterated that the various United Nations resolutions on the conflict as well as the 1991 peace conference principles "remained valid for reaching a just and global peace" in the Middle East.
On Wednesday, the Syrian leader is expected to get down to the serious business of political discussions with Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and other political leaders. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)