TRANSCRIPT: ABC's Barbara Walters' Interview With Syrian President Bashar al-Assad


Walters: With who?

Assad: With our neighbors.

Walters: Not Jordan.

Assad: With Lebanon, we have trade, we have normal--

Walters: Not-- well Lebanon...

Assad: With Iraq.

Walters: But what is the agenda, for example, of Turkey or Jordan or the Arab League, why?

Assad: I'd rather ask them. I wouldn't answer on their behalf.

Walters: OK.

Assad: They will tell you they have an agenda.

Walters: Do they want to destroy you?

Assad: You should ask them, I cannot talk about their will I don't know about their will to be frank.

Walters: One of the things that the Arab League has asked for consistently is to have monitors, to have objective people come and visit these areas where there is discontent. Will you allow monitors?

Walters: Will you now allow monitors to come into this country?

Assad: Of course.

Walters: Of course?

Assad: We want that but in line with our sovereignty.

Walters: What does that mean?

Assad: What does it mean to everything in cooperation with the Syrian government you have a state here?

Walters: Yeah but if--

Assad: They cannot just come and do whatever they want.

Walters: But if you had monitors they have to be free to look around they can't be.

Assad: Of course they are free.

Walters: They can't, but you are saying they have to be free with your people accompanying them.

Assad: NO.

Walters: They're not independent.

Assad: They ask for protection so they need our people, they are asking for protection how can they go to conflicts and being killed if they want this is their responsibility.

Walters: I am going to ask this again because I want it very clear this is important. Will you allow monitors outside monitors to come into your country and look around to go to these other cities, to Homs for example will you allow them to come, yes or no.

Assad: Yes as a principle, of course we would say yes.

Walters: Under what circumstances?

Assad: To be in line with our sovereignty to do everything in cooperation with the Syrian government, they cannot say that we're going to send, send say, for example, 15,000. It's two sides. It's contract you don't make contract from one side it's a technical issue you have technicalities I don't know everything about these technicalities.

Assad: How to move, how to prepare, how to protect them, what their job, what's our job>? We are party, you cannot have protocol just to explain to you very clearly you cannot accept protocol that is made there and we don't have anything to discuss, very simply.

Walters: Are you now negotiating with the Arab League?

Assad: Of course that is what we are doing. Yeah, yeah.

Walters: You are?

Assad: Of course we are still negotiating, yes.

Walters: So you think that monitors will be allowed to come soon?

Assad: Of course, as I said we ask this before.

Walters: You asked for monitors?

Assad: Yeah before they have this--

Walters: Can they travel wherever they want?

Assad: Of course. But according to certain rules, how to discuss this rules, they are going to, when you make contract you discuss it. At the very beginning they didn't want to discuss it with us. We said no if we don't discuss it we cannot sign it, it will be discussed in details.

Walters: Are you now discussing with the Arab League allowing monitors to come?

Assad: Yeah, yeah.

Walters: Can outside foreign reporters come, they have not been allowed?

Assad: No, they were allowed and you are here.

Walters: I am here and I have a correspondent here, but in--

Assad: But you have been here for two days now did anyone tell you where to go or where not to go nobody you are free to go wherever you want.

Walters: I am appreciative that I have been allowed here and that you've granted an interview, can other foreign correspondents, American and others come into this country now?

Assad: Yeah, exactly.

Walters: We have not heard this, you will say yes?

Assad: You have to hear; to hear the truth, you have to look for the truth, the truth--

Walters: Well I'm, I'm asking you now.

Assad: But that doesn't mean they can come without a visa. We are a country where they have to take visa. We give visa to people, maybe we don't give visa to-- we are like any other country against our sovereignty.

Walters: OK, but in--

Assad: That doesn't mean anyone can come any time and do whatever they do.

Walters: I grant you but as soon as you say visa it means this one can't come, that, in general now can foreign correspondents come to this country.

Assad: Of course. Yes, and we have been receiving the delegations from Europe, from the United States, from the rest of the world.

Walters: No sir, you have not been receiving delegations.

Assad: I met with them, I met with them.

Walters: Foreign correspondents?

Assad: Of course, of course foreign, they can give you the article they made interviews with me.

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