Lebanon News

Syrian ambassador says Obama speech unsurprising

BEIRUT: Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon said Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech Thursday was “not surprising,” and reflected a bias toward Israel in American foreign policy.

“The U.S. rhetoric is not surprising. When it comes to the region, U.S. policy was, and is, biased to Israeli aggression and ambitions, and [the speech] did not offer any program that satisfies the Arab citizen,” Ambassador Ali Abdel-Karim Ali told reporters after a meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri at the latter’s residence in Ain al-Tineh.

The Syrian diplomat said that the solutions promised by the U.S. administration “provided nothing new.”

In his speech on the wave of Arab uprisings, Obama said that Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has been grappling with nine weeks of unrest, “now has a choice: he can lead that transition, or get out of the way.”

Ali said that Syria was heading in the right direction. “Syria… will emerge…more fortified. God willing, reforms are moving at an accelerated pace.”

Asked if there was a connection between the visit of Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, which began Thursday in Lebanon, and events in Syria, Ali said that Feltman “is not new to Lebanon; he interferes in Lebanon from inside and outside [the country].”

Asked about the national dialogue that Assad has promised to launch with the Syrian opposition, Ali said the dialogue will be “broad-based and open, and will include all Syrians.”

 

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