Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Thursday that no one wants civil strife in Lebanon. "No one wants there to be clashes, fitna (strife within the Muslim community), between Lebanese," Assad said after lunchtime talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.
Asked about an eventual Syrian-Saudi initiative in Lebanon, the Syrian leader said that "the solution can only be Lebanese, it can be neither Syrian, nor Saudi, nor French. "We (Syrians) don't want to intervene, we don't want to interfere in an internal Lebanese situation," Assad said.
In an answer to a question on the Middle East peace process,al-Assad said "The American initiative started to move months ago on the Syrian track and the Palestinian track, but it is obvious that nothing is real so far...We can't blame the sponsor before we blame the main parties." He continued "There is the Arab party which is ready for peace and the Israeli party which does not really exist in the peace process, or what we call the 'illusionary partner' or the 'absence of a partner'."
''We in Syria are always optimistic, but optimism does not negate the fact that situations are worse, at least when it comes to the peace process,'' the Syrian leader conveyed.