Photo taken on Jan. 5, 2013 shows a building with a giant poster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave a speech to his nation Sunday, calling Syrians to unite and proposing an initiative for the political solution to the ongoing crisis. (Xinhua/Zhang Naijie)
Damascus, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave a speech to his nation Sunday, calling Syrians to unite and proposing an initiative for the political solution to the ongoing crisis.
"Syria will not get out of its crisis without a full national mobilization," Assad said in a speech on the latest developments in Syria as well as in the region.
The conflict in Syria is not between the authority and the opposition, but "between the nation and our enemies," he said, adding that there is an agenda to partition Syria and "we have to defend our country."
"This is the revolution of the Syrian people, not outsiders," he said.
The 45-minute speech, given in the Opera House in central Damascus and broadcast by TV channels, is the embattled president' s first public address to the nation in months. It was greeted by applause and slogan-chanting from the audience on the scene.
Assad also presented in the speech an initiative to politically resolve the crisis. The initiative consists of three phases, including a cease-fire, followed by a comprehensive national dialogue on a "national charter", and the establishment of a broad- based government and parliament.
Assad said the first phase of the initiative includes commitment of "concerned states and parties" to stop funding, arming and harboring militants in Syria, in parallel with the end of "terrorist operations" by militants, followed by a cessation of Syrian army's operations. After that, the government will begin intensive contacts for holding a national dialogue conference that involves all factions inside and outside the country.
The second phase, according to Assad, includes the government's call for a comprehensive national dialogue conference, and if the conference agree on the new laws and constitution, a "national charter" will be issued. The charter, which insists on Syria's sovereignty, will go through a referendum.
In the third phase, a broad-based government and parliament will be formed according to the new constitution, and a general amnesty will be issued, the president said.
RIYADH, Jan. 5, (Xinhua)-- Saudi Arabia and Egypt affirmed on Saturday the importance of peaceful transition of power in Syria, Saudi News Agency reported.
After a meeting in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal and his Egyptian counterpart Mohammed Kamel Amr called for the peaceful transition of power to spare the Syrian people of tragedies and sufferings. Full story
DAMASCUS, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian Foreign Ministry on Friday slammed as "unprofessional and not neutral" a recent report by the UN Commission of Inquiry that accused the Syrian administration of huge violations of human rights.
Last month, UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria published its latest report on the human rights situation in Syria, concluding that innocent Syrian civilians are bearing the brunt of escalating armed confrontations between the government and rebel forces. Full story