|Saudis fully implement U.S. policies: Assad||
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad charged Saudi Arabia, a main backer of the Syrian opposition, was carrying out U.S. policy against his government.
"Does anyone dare to objectively describe (Saudi policy on Syria) as the policy of an independent state? Saudi Arabia is a state that fully implements the policies of the United States," said Assad during remarks broadcast Monday, AFP reported.
Assad said no date had been set for an international conference on ending his country's civil war and cast doubt on whether it could succeed if held now.
Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said on Sunday after meeting international envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi that the peace conference, known as Geneva II, was scheduled for November 23. Brahimi said the date had "not been officially set."
Remaining confident and animated throughout the two-hour interview with al-Mayadin TV, Assad told his interviewer: "There is no date so far ... and current factors do not help in holding it."
He said opposition groups that had been invited to the talks represented foreign powers rather than Syrians.
"Which forces are taking part? What relation do these forces have with the Syrian people? Do these forces represent the Syrian people, or do they represent the states that invented them?" the Syrian leader asked.
Assad has refused to recognize as legitimate the National Coalition opposition umbrella group, which insists on his ouster.
"How can these forces represent the Syrian people if they live abroad. They don't dare to come to Syria... But claim to control 70 percent of Syrian territory," through fighting on the ground, he said.
"There are many questions about the conference... What is the framework of the conference?" Assad asked.
He has also repeatedly accused the Coalition of working under the orders of regional and Western backers.
"The solution (to Syria's war) must be a Syrian solution, regardless of whether foreign powers recognize it. It doesn't matter. What matters is that the Syrian people recognize it," said Assad.
"The issue is a Syrian issue... Whether the conference is held or not is not what matters most. The most important issue is, should the conference be held, will it succeed or not? That is the question. And up until now, the factors are not yet in place for it to succeed."
Asked whether he would run for re-election, Assad, who succeeded his later father in 2000, said: "My answer depends on two factors. The first is the personal desire, and the second is the will of the people."
"Regarding the first point, the one related to me personally, I don't see any reason why I shouldn't run in the next election."
Assad's interview also came as UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was in Baghdad on the second leg of a regional tour to raise support for the peace conference, which according to the chief of the Arab League should be held on November 23.
The Syrian leader said he would welcome Brahimi back to Damascus as long as "he sticks to his mandate and does not overstep it."
"He is tasked with a mediation mission. A mediator should be neutral," said Assad.
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