June 28 - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tells Iranian State TV that foreign pressure will not influence his decisions. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tells Iranian state television Thursday that an outside solution imposed on Syria is unacceptable because only Syrians could resolve the country's crisis. (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SAYING: "The real issue is maintaining national unity in the country. We need to overcome the internal differences and disagreements. Internal conflict can constitute disagreements among the youth, but this is an internal issue, which does not concern foreign elements." He was asked if foreign pressure would push him to change his stance against - quote - 'Israel and the West'. (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SAYING: "Foreign pressure will not have an influence on our stance. We have been under pressure for a long time, and it did not have an affect in the past, and it will not have any influence in the future." Western and Arab governments have engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity ahead of a planned meeting in Geneva on Saturday of permanent members of the UN Security Council, and key players in the Middle East in an effort to end the 16-month-old crisis. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters