May 30 - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gives interview to Al Manar TV, says Moscow is committed to the contract to deliver weapons to Syria. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
While Russia has not delivered advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, President Bashar al-Assad told Lebanon's Al-Manar TV that Moscow will honor its agreement. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SAYING: ''We do not reveal military issues, what we receive or what we have but in regards to Russia the contracts are not related to the crisis. We have been negotiating with them on different kinds of weapons for years, and Russia is committed with Syria to carrying out these contracts so what I want to say that neither Netenyahu's visit (to Moscow) or the circumstances of this crisis have affected the import of weapons. Everything we agreed upon with Russia will be carried out and a part of it has already been carried out recently and Russia and us will continue to implement these contracts.'' The interview comes ahead of a proposed peace conference next month. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD SAYING: ''Very simply, our only condition is that any agreement as a result of any meeting inside or outside Syria, including the conference, should be subject to the opinion of the Syrian people, a referendum for the Syrian people, this is our only real condition, anything else has no value, this is why we will go to this conference feeling comfortable, we have no worries, they can put anything up for discussion on the table, but nothing will be implemented without the opinion of the Syrian people. And we are the legitimate representative of the Syrian people so there is nothing we are afraid of.'' Assad said the balance of power is shifting in Syria because rebels were losing sympathy among their own people.