Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he is ready to meet Saad Hariri, the son of five-time Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri whose assassination has been widely blamed on Damascus. "We were asked whether if Saad Hariri came to Syria we would receive him. We said of course," Assad said in an interview published Monday by Al-Hayat newspaper.
"It was not a problem for us. In politics, there are no personal affairs, but public interests," he said.
Asked whether Hariri would be received if he became prime minister, Assad said: "We were asked this question five or six months ago, and we said the same thing -- yes, whatever his position is."
In the interview, Assad also praised Iran, saying it played an "important and necessary role" in maintaining regional stability.