Assad wants to host Obama in Damascus
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said he would be ready to host US President Barack Obama in Syria to discuss Middle East peace efforts, in an interview aired Friday by Britain's Sky News. "We would like to welcome him in Syria, definitely. I am very clear about this," the Syrian leader said.
Asked whether this could happen soon, he answered: "That depends on him. "I will ask you to convey the invitation to him," he told Sky News.
Asked if such a meeting could herald a new era of cooperation in the Middle East, the Syrian president conveyed it could, if peace could be reached. "It's normal to have differences between different cultures, between different nations and states. But I think the United States has a special role as the greatest power," he told the British channel.
Assad declared said that "any summit between any two presidents is something positive". "That doesn't mean you have to agree about everything. But when you discuss, this is how we can close the gap."
He added that a meeting with Obama would be only the first move in a rapprochement between Damascus and Washington. "A big change comes when you make actions. An invitation is about dialogue, dialogue is about having common ground, a common vision. Then you have to make a plan then, later, you take action," Assad noted.
The Syrian president added he was in favour "as a principle" of renewing indirect talks with Israel.