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Assad says Syria to hold parliamentary elections in Feb. : state TV

08-22-2011 08:48 BJT Special Report:Unrest in Syria |

DAMASCUS, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday that he expected to have parliamentary elections conducted in February of 2012 in an interview broadcast by state TV.

The solution to the five-month-old crisis in the country is " political," al-Assad said, adding that the security situation is better now.

Syria is passing through a transitional stage and there will be a revision of the constitution, he said.

He pledged that whoever has committed any crime against any Syrian citizen, whether he was civilian or military, would be held accountable when he is proven to be guilty.

Al-Assad said Syria's relation with the West is "a relation of conflict on sovereignty... and we are adhering fast to our sovereignty without hesitation."

He warned that any military action against Syria would backfire on those who carried them out.

He stressed that Syria would never starve as it is self- sufficient and has a geographical location, which is fundamental for the region's economy, warning that any siege against Syria would harm regional countries and reverberate on other countries.

Assad said the unrest, erupted from mid-March when anti- government protests broke out in the southern province of Daraa and spread to other cities, posed no problem to the country, stressing the government is still capable of dealing with it.

International pressure has mounted on al-Assad for his alleged crackdown on anti-government protesters, as U.S. President Barack Obama, for the first time, explicitly urged al-Assad to step down on Thursday and imposed new economic sanctions.

The fresh sanctions will freeze the Syrian government's assets under U.S. jurisdiction, bar U.S. individuals or companies from transactions with al-Assad's government and ban U.S. import of Syrian petroleum.

Following that, the European Union (EU) on Friday decided to add 20 names to the list of Syrians targeted by asset freeze and travel ban. It said it is also preparing new restrictive measures including an embargo on the import of Syrian crude oil, and that it would soon suspend the technical assistance of the European Investment Bank.

"We want to tell them their words are worthless," Assad said, adding that "the remarks should be made to a president brought to power by the United States or the West, but not one chosen by the Syrian people."

"Reform for those colonial Western countries... is to offer them all they want and give up all rights," he said.

On his country's relation with Turkey, Assad said Syria would not allow any country to interfere in Syrian internal affairs.

The Syrian leader asserted that the process of reforms is proceeding, underlining the importance of a continued dialogue to cover all Syrian provinces.

He said there would be an overall revision of the Syrian constitution, adding that the local administration law would be ready within few days and local administration elections would be held three months following the issuance of the law.

The decision to name a committee for the multi-party law will be issued before Thursday and the media law will be announced before the end of Ramadan, the president said, noting "we will finish reforms on legislative and electoral level and subsequently move to the stage of implementation."

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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