Syria's Assad: sanctions won't change our policy
Published Friday, July 6, 2012
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that increased sanctions on the country will make no difference to his regime's policies, saying any attempt to please the West would destroy the country's "honor."
The European Union and the United States have slapped new sanctions on Damascus in recent weeks, while on Friday the “Friends of Syria” meeting in France demanded a fresh UN resolution condemning Assad's crackdown on a 16-month uprising against his rule.
In an interview recorded earlier this week but onlyt released in full on Friday, Assad said the sanctions would make no difference to Syrian government policy.
"Since we have rights, since we have dignity and since we are patriots, no matter how intensified the sanctions get, they will not make us change our stance," Assad said in an interview with the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet.
He added that the issue "is not one of selling principles for money, food or foreign aid, otherwise we would have to justify the attitude of any corrupt person who sold his honor for money, and this is categorically unacceptable for us in Syria in principle."
Denies backing PKK
Speaking of increased tension with Turkey, which peaked last month after Syrian forces downed a Turkish jet, Assad denied Turkish allegations of support for Kurdish rebels.
Turkey is struggling to contain a Kurdish rebellion in the southeast of its country, and reports have recently suggested Assad has offered support to the guerrilla Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK.
"Treachery is not of our values," Assad said, adding that Turkey's repressive policies towards the Kurds was the cause of resentment. "I believe if there was a security disorder in Turkey now, it is because of the Turkish government's policies," he said.
Ankara deployed forces to its Syrian border last week following a downing of a Turkish F-4 jet by Syrian anti-aircraft guns.
Damascus alleges the warplane was shot over its airspace. While Turkey admits the aircraft entered Syrian airspace, it argues that it was shot over the Mediterranean.