By Nabil Al Mulhem
In his first speech as president, Syria’s Bashar Assad focused on domestic affairs as well as Arab and international issues, stressing the need for "new strategies in all areas."
President Assad told parliament after taking the oath of office at the start of a seven-year mandate that what is needed is not only to preserve the late president Hafez Assad’s legacy, but also to build on it.
Assad added in the speech, which was carried live by TV, that he would lead the country along three parallel approaches: first novel ideas for development are to be initiated; second, old-fashioned and ideas to be scrapped; and thirdly inherited old ideas can be renewed and updated to fit the changing circumstances.
The new leader criticized “the gap between the internal and the external situations” in the past era.
He explained that the late president drew the guidelines for a balanced strategy. The political aspect of the policy, however, proved very successful but the other components did not achieve good results in an era where politics was the dominant factor.
He added that flaws in the economic system were not handled effectively, and that approaches to economic problems were characterized with lack of planning and a trial-and error way. Not only that, but the legislations on which the economic policies were based on, were in themselves full of gaps.
Assad called for an economic and social strategy that is drawn up according to scientific methodology and earnest studies carried out with the time and effort needed.
The 34-year-old president highlighted the concept of transparency at the political, economic and social levels, stressing that transparency should be established as a value and a tradition.
Regarding democracy, the new president said the “we should not apply the democracy of the others on us,” adding that “Western democracy is a historical accumulation of the Western life, and to apply it, we are supposed to have lived their life…which is impossible; therefore we should come up with our democracy that is founded on the needs of our society and our history.”
At the Arab level, Bashar urged for activating the inter-Arab economic agreements, and a common Arab market as “the minimum level of sound inter-Arab relations.”
He criticized the status quo of the Arab-Arab ties, which have been weakened throughout the 1990s, but praised the Syrian-Lebanese relations as exemplary and a good how ties between two countries should be.
He said that Syria’s relation with its neighbor has achieved a number of accomplishments such as bringing to an end the civil war in Lebanon, and the build up of national consensus in addition to the Israeli retreat from the occupied south Lebanon in May.
LIBERATION OF THE GOLAN IS A KEY AIM
Bashar told the deputies that the liberation of the Golan is a key aim of Syria,
He said Syria wanted to recover the "whole of the Golan" back to the frontier in force on June 4th, 1967 when the strategic heights were occupied by Israel.
"The liberation of our land is an essential priority, and is as important as achieving a fair and comprehensive peace," said Assad.
He cast doubts on Israel intentions as to a peaceful settlement to the conflict.
"There is no proof that Israel's peace intentions are sincere," he said.
He called on the United States to "play its role impartially in ensuring the implementation of UN resolutions (restoring) the rights of the Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians."
"We are in a hurry to make peace, but we are not ready to give away the land. The people of the Golan are Syrian Arabs, and the land" will come back to Syria, he vowed – Albawaba.com
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