Syria hails 'trust' with France

Al-Assad praises France but says US is "weak point" in Middle East peace process.

    Sarkozy, right, visited al-Assad in Damascus in September 2008 [AFP]
     

    Relations between France and Syria have been warming since al-Assad made a landmark visit to Paris last year for Bastille Day celebrations and Sarkozy visited Damascus two months later in September 2008.

    'Weak link'

    But the Syrian leader said that "we haven't yet reached a revival of trust between Syria and the United States," and called on Barack Obama, the US president, to do more for the stalled Middle East peace process.

    "What President Obama said about peace was a good thing. We agree with him on the principles, but... what is the plan of action? The [peace process] sponsor must come up with a plan of action," he said.

    Le Figaro quoted al-Assad as saying: "The weak point - it's the American sponsor."

    The Syrian president also repeated his position that Damascus must review a partnership agreement with the European Union, which had been due to be signed in October, calling on the bloc to have "more political independence".

    "The Europeans have turned completely towards the United States, to Syria's detriment. A partner must be a friend and we haven't noticed that from Europe these last years," he said.

    Damascus and the EU first drew up the draft partnership pact in 2004, but it was never signed by European countries, amid concerns by some nations of human rights abuses in Syria.

    The Netherlands in particular demanded a clause allowing for the suspension of the deal in the event of proven rights abuses.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.