Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says talks with the opposition groups are the sole solution to the unrest that has engulfed the Middle Eastern country for more than 18 months.
“The door to dialogue is open — only talks with the opposition will solve the crisis,” the Egyptian paper Al-Ahram Al-Arabi on Thursday quoted Assad as saying in an interview whose full text is to appear on Friday.
Assad added that “change cannot be achieved through foreign intervention.”
The Syrian leader noted that the foreign-backed insurgents fighting against his government will be finally defeated.
“The armed groups exercise terrorism against the state. They are not popular within society … they will not be victorious in the end”.
He also said he was “neither optimistic nor pessimistic” about the mission assigned to international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, whom he met on Saturday.
On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi expressed opposition to foreign intervention in Syria and called for a peaceful ‘Syrian solution’ to the crisis.
He said following a Cairo meeting with his Turkish and Egyptian counterparts that more talks were needed to agree on a plan which meets the demands of all sides.
Western states have been calling for Syrian al-Assad to step down. However, Russia and China are strongly opposed to the drive to oust Assad.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals, mostly from Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan.