BEIRUT\ DAMASCUS- Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel-Karim Ali spoke Tuesday to reporters after meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Grand Serail with whom he discussed bilateral relations.
Ambassador Ali in Beirut said that Syria will emerge stronger from the current crisis, stressing that Syrian President Bashar Assad is determined to carry out radical political reforms to meet protesters’ demands.
“We discussed matters relating to the interests of the two countries and the two peoples. I reassured him [Mikati] that Syria will emerge from the crisis stronger than it was,” the ambassador said.
He added that President al-Assad, as a result of the six-month-old popular uprising that has posed the gravest challenge to his 11-year rule, was reviewing the situation in Syria with “an in-depth assessment and radical reforms.”
Ali said assassinations targeting civilians, particularly Sunday’s assassination of Sariya Hassoun, the son of Syria’s Mufti Ahmad Hassoun in the town of Idlib, have united the Syrians in rejecting “this conspiracy and those standing behind it.”
Asked about a possible visit by Mikati to Damascus this week, Ali said this subject was not discussed, but added that the prime minister is welcome in Syria at any time.
Earlier Tuesday, the Lebanese Prime Minister’s Office released a statement denying reports that Mikati had secretly met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and former Syrian intelligence chief Rustom Ghazaleh at Damascus airport.
“The prime minister’s visits are made public and announced in line with the norms,” the statement said.
A source close to Mikati said Sunday that the prime minister’s visit is likely to take place at any time.
Also on Tuesday and in Damascus President Bashar al-Assad met a Lebanese delegation. The delegation was consisting of head of the Union Party Abdul Rahim Mourad, General Coordinator for the Follow-up Committee of the Beirut and Coast Conference Kamal Chatila, and Secretary of the Leadership Committee of the Independent Nasserite Movement Mustafa Hamdan.
Lebanese officials voiced confidence that Syria will emerge stronger after this phase and that its strength will become strength for Lebanon and Arab causes, particularly the Palestinian cause.
Earlier in September, President al-Assad discussed with former Lebanese Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss and Omar Karami, each alone separately, the events in Syria and their repercussions on the region in general and Lebanon in particular.