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BEIRUT, November 19. /TASS/. Syria’s President Bashar Assad has said that on the way to presidential elections in the country "there’s nothing called a red line if the Syrians, in their dialogue, want to have presidential elections," he said in an interview with the Italian RAI UNO television on Wednesday.
"It should be about what the consensus is among the Syrians," Assad said quoted by the SANA news agency which released the text of the interview.
Also, he pointed out that "only the Syrians can choose someone they trust. Doesn’t matter if I trust someone or not. Whoever the Syrians trust will be in that position."
Besides, the Syrian president said that terrorists "are the main obstacle of any real political advancement."
"The timetable, if you want to talk about schedule, this timetable starts after starting defeating terrorism. Before that, there will be no point in deciding any timetable, because you cannot achieve anything politically while you have the terrorists taking over many areas in Syria," he said.
Assad’s words have become first Damascus’ response to agreements reached at the Syria International Support Group conference in Vienna on November 14. The three-page-long document contains a number of initiatives, including the opposition consolidation, a new constitution, new government and elections in the coming 18 months.
Assad is confident that the timeframe was "not essential. The most important part is that we’re going to sit with each other [and] then we’re going to [work out] our schedule and our plan as Syrians."
Speaking about demands for his resignation, the Syrian president said the head of state cannot step down to please either certain forces or the West.
"The president, any president, should come to his position and leave that position according to constitutional procedures," he said.
The Western politicians say "If the president leaves, the future of Syria is good. That’s the Western propaganda," Assad said. "The whole Western game is regime-change, regardless of the meaning of regime; we don’t have a regime, we have a state."
Besides, Assad has said that parliamentary elections will take place after a new constitution is drafted and a referendum held.
"The parliamentarian election is going to show which political power in Syria has real weight among the Syrian people, which one has real grassroots. Now, anyone can say ‘I’m opposition’," he said.
Syria’s president is hopeful that the process of political settlement in the country could last for over two years.