Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he does not consider the United States "our enemy" despite Washington's threat of sanctions for alleged support of Palestinian resistance groups and efforts to develop "biochemical weapons".
In an interview published Sunday, the Syrian leader also urged for closer ties with the European Union [EU] as an apparent buffer against US economic and political pressure.
"I can say that we have many differences with the United States, but we don't consider them our enemy," Assad was quoted as saying in an interview with the Kathimerini newspaper.
"[But] we are against the occupation of Iraq, the actions of US forces in Iraq and the human rights violations."
Assad made his remarks ahead of a three-day trip to Athens, which began Sunday.
Furthermore, Assad denied that his country provides direct assistance to any Palestinian or Lebanese groups, but said Syria hosted some Palestinian officials.
"There are no headquarters of [Palestinian] groups in Syria," the Syrian President said. "We don't provide any material or military support – which was never asked from us anyway – to [Lebanese] Hizbullah or any other group because this is Syria's policy." (Albawaba.com)
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