11:02 GMT +3 hours28 May 2016
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais in Damascus, in this handout picture provided by SANA on February 20, 2016

Assad to French Lawmakers: Syria is ‘Too Small’ for Federalization

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President Bashar Assad told French lawmakers visiting Damascus on Sunday that Syria is too small for federalization, a member of the delegation told Sputnik after talks with the Syrian leader.

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Svetlana Alexandrova — Earlier in the day, a group of French lawmakers met with Assad in Damascus during their visit to the Middle East country.

"[Assad] emphasized that Syria is a small country and too small for implementing an idea of federalization, also due to the fact, that all communities are linked and closely woven together," Nicolas Dhuicq said.

He added that Assad believed Syrian Kurds' bid for federalization was a bad idea.

"He mentioned Kurds and the fact that they talk about federalization. To his mind, it will not be a good idea, especially, concerning the Arab population in the area. He said that in Syrian regions with Kurds population, Kurds, actually, represent only 30 percent of the population, so they will be a minority on their own territory," Dhuicq said.

Assad believes that central state should play a permanent role in Syria while some areas can be granted more autonomy, Nicolas Dhuicq told Sputnik.

"He said that he is thinking about a new state’s organization or structure. Assad has mentioned ideas of decentralization, something that we have here in France. According to his vision, some areas in Syria may be granted more freedom and power but the permanent role of the central state and authority will remain."

Bashar Assad disagrees that Muslims should have an exclusive right to hold a presidential post in Syria, Nicolas Dhuicq, the member of the French lawmakers' delegation visiting Damascus said.

"He has mentioned a new constitution and the fact that he disagrees with proposals to introduce in a new constitution a legislative that set forth a right of only a Muslim to become a president. 'It is unacceptable', he said adding that all citizens in Syria must have same rights," Dhuicq said.

"[Assad] hopes that there would be an agreement in summer between the parties to the conflict before the presidential election in the United States," Nicolas Dhuicq said.

The latest round of talks between the Syrian government and opposition forces wrapped up in Geneva on Thursday and is expected to resume on April 10.

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federalization, Kurds, Bashar al-Assad, Syria
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  • drjasonsmith
    Fundamentally, this is Assad's decision to make because he is Syria's President. Outsiders such as myself may offer opinions but what will be must be decided by Syrians through their existing institutions.
  • dna1991
    All resistance are organized by outsiders so that they can colonize Syria through insiders. Disappointed with Israel as they seem to have learn nothing from the holocaust and continue to collaborate with the Al Saud barbarians.
  • bangein reply todrjasonsmith(Show commentHide comment)
    drjasonsmith, you are right. The last word will come from the president, the boss of the sovereign country. Whatever Kurds think or the outsider, the only voice that matter is Assad. constitution proposal are just ideas from outsider. Syria is a democrat country compare to Daesh country ( soudi arabia) where there is no election. In Syria anybody can be president even Kurds.
  • Norbert the Braquein reply todna1991(Show commentHide comment)
  • Ann
    Assad said that "all citizens in Syria must have same rights." That's more democratic than the U.S., the supposed "pillar of democracy" is.
  • teddy j
    when looking at the COMPLEXITY AND EVEN sophistication of the various ethnicities , religions, and inter-religion interests - it is actually amazing to realize and learn or understand that

    ASSAD is actually one of the most balanced heads of state ANYWHERE -

    that he HAS to try and preserve a Sovereign syria -- consider the different interests - there simply has been NO good reason for the WEST - led by the prime suspect USA -- TO vilify him to the extent regime change and HAVE had to attempt to destroy an entire country for that purpose --
    that is JUST PURE EVIL from the part of the USA AND europe.

    how would THEY like it --

    if in the USA the southern states try to declare secession, ''autonomous regions" and don't want to acknowledge the federal government AT ALL -- refuse to pay national taxes -- yet DEMAND money from the central government -- hold their own ''HEADS OF STATE" ELECTIONS -- go around blowing things up in the north and east and california - etc?

    or germany's different states in their own federation started to talk of autonomy , let alone declare independence OR storm berlin to replace merkel forcibly -- or the catholics fight the protestants etc?

    considering the cruel war the USA and EUROPE had brought on syria -- and TO assad -- it is amazing that he doesn't even throw back at them the kind of vicious words AND actions

    like that of THEIR own ''erdogan" NATO ''ALLY".
  • teddy jin reply tobange(Show commentHide comment)
    bange, I CONCUR WITH YOU AND dragonsmith

    ASSAD IS the legitimate -- and as of the moment -- POPULARLY supported president of SYRIA -- Sovereign syria.

    the KURDS -- whatever THEIR part in fighting ISIL were doing it for THEir INTERESTS -- which eventually they wish to partition syria to get their own state -- cobbled BACK from iraq , turkey and syria.

    THAT is their affair -- but so long as SYRIA is sovereign and THEY are ruled by syria -- thjey can not just PUT UP THEIR OWN government n order to challenge ASSAD for ANY national position IF their eventual intent is for ''secession"

    OR to rule over syria themselves over the MAJORITY

    they then become nothing more than any ''minority" tha tforcibly rules over a majority.

    either they stay in syria , even as autonomous region BUT ultimate authority comes from assad --

    or they decalre themselves ''independent' and see where that goes -- and appeal to the UN or intenational rules -- and see where THAT GOES.

    but THEY BECOME ALSO answerable to what happens to the ARAB MAJORITY IN their territory and show themselves if they even deserve to have their ''long-postponed kurdish nation"

    able to bring the SAME or comparable balance and equality that ASSAD has kept over all of syria, inclouding for the kurds.

    IF all they do is let themselves also be cyncial used by the USA for more trouble for syria as a whole -- what good are they?
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