Speech by the President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad on August 20th, 2017 to the Syrian Diplomatic Corps


[…] What are the future directions of the Syrian policy? We begin with the traditional rule that we adopted since the early days of the war,which rests on two points. The first: to continue to fight and crush the terrorists wherever they are, in cooperation with the Allied Forces and friends.
The second: to pursue national reconciliation, wherever necessary, as it has demonstrated its effectiveness in different ways, and that is for us a chance to stop the bleeding and rebuild the country.
The third point is the improvement of our external contacts. The fact is that Western public opinion has changed. And you, in the Foreign Ministry, you are best placed to monitor the details. It is not only Western public opinion that has changed, but the world public opinion, especially Western. It changed mainly because (people) have discovered, after years, that the story (propaganda) was not well put together. For seven years, the same lie was told about the state that kills its people, about the world that supports the people against the state, which remained standing. This is an inconsistent speech doomed to fail and illogical even for children. 
People have discovered that their leaders were lying and that their traditional media were also associated with the lies of the officials and state. Today, people have discovered that the story told is false, but it does not necessarily mean they know the real story; this task is up to you and your heart working diplomats. Now that the doors of the truth are open, we have to present it to the world public opinion and especially that of the West.
The fourth point is the promotion of the economy, especially as your congress coincides with the Damascus International Fair, which gives a great signal in this direction. Promoting economic opportunities already available and those that might be in the near future. At this point, let me say that the Syrian economy has entered a recovery phase, slowly but surely, although we are in a state of almost total siege. This too is part of the essential missions of the Syrian diplomacy.
The fifth point is very important: we must move politically, economically and culturally to the Orient (the East). The East is mostly taken in the political sense, and also in part in the geographical sense. This East today, without specifying the countries that comprise it, which as diplomats you know perfectly, the East has all the elements of development. It is no longer in the “Second World” as in the past, but is part of the “First World” in every sense of the term,at least in regard to our needs as a developing country. It is not necessary to look for the latest in science, but for all that is essential, the East has for sure all the goods and all the capabilities we need. 
This East therefore has the elements of science and economy, it has the elements of civilization (that are lacking in the West), treats us as equals and with respect, without dictates, without pride or arrogance. All these behaviors are virtually absent from the side of the West, which never offered us anything even in the best times. The simplest things, such as scientific missions (were refused to us). Thus, when he thinks that such specialization could have a significant impact on development in Syria, he forbids us to enroll our students in it.  Therefore, we must not rely on the West. I speak of an experience of over four decades, and especially since the October War in 1973. 
The West today is suffering from paranoia. If he speaks of international community, he speaks of himself, and in their eyes, the world is probably made of livestock herds and not (human) societies. If he cut his relations with us, he thinks he has cut us the oxygen. And if he closes his embassy, he says that we are isolated even though we kept our relationship with dozens of other countries. So we are an isolated country (according to the West), but how many of our ambassadors abroad are now present in this room, and how many foreign ambassadors in Syria? We are not isolated as Westerners think. But their arrogance leads them to think that way.
Lately we have started to hear about the possibility of reopening the embassies of some western countries who behaved as enemies of Syria and who sided with the terrorists. Some say they will open their embassies in exchange for our security cooperation, or claim that we would accept security cooperation only if they open their embassies; despite the fact that they have not asked us if we would accept the reopening of the embassies. This discourse suggests that we expect this day forward, as if we were sitting on the side of the road waiting for the day of deliverance where these foreign embassies would open their doors; and if not all of them, at least some. So maybe we might feel in our being, perhaps we might feel our legitimacy lost due to their absence, and more, maybe we would experience the feeling of having found our honor and national dignity when they reopen their embassies in Syria. This is how they think. 
The truth is that we never talked about it this way. We never said that we accept cooperation security in exchange for the opening of embassies. We said that no relationship is possible, including security, in case of “political cover”, which requires a sound political relationship,rendered impossible as these countries support terrorism. That is why we will be clear: there will be no security cooperation, not reopening embassies, or even any role for some countries who have recently started saying they would participate in the resolution of the problem in Syria, as long as they will not cut their relations with terrorism and terrorists, in a clear, explicit and unambiguous way. Only then will it be possible to talk about the opening of embassies.
This Western stupidity is not new. I still remember the subject of desertions that I never mentioned in my speeches and which has just been evoked to me in a question to which I replied. This subject is now forgotten, so it is good to remember it, especially as we had said that it was not of great importance for us, but it truly is. Indeed, (conceive that) dozens – some say hundreds, whatever – of people devoid of national feeling or paid by the abroad, were hidden in the various services of the State, that we knew nothing about them, and could not distinguish those who were attached to their country and those who were not, without our having the slightest clue. Imagine that all these years, these people were at the heart of (State) organizations, acting as a fifth column and plotting for the interests of these foreign states. So what was the situation? In all certainty, the situation was very difficult. How could we tell them, you are unpatriotic and untrustworthy, get out (of our services) of the State so that we can work correctly (since we did not know their identity)? 
Well, these Western leaders in their stupidity did so. (These traitors) did not just come out of the State services, but of the whole country. That is, they made a cleaning operation, unprecedented, that we would have been unable to carry out. That is to say, whatever the points of difference between people and between countries, there are always points of convergence. Therefore I can say that the West supported these desertions, and we also stood by them and converged with him on that! We do not diverge on everything, and we agreed on this point. 
Of course, there are also sanctions against Syria, even if they are secondary. The West also wanted to punish Russia with sanctions, but lost more than Russia has lost. In the end, this great power immediately compensated for its losses by its relations with other countries and increased its local production thanks to its diversified economy, with its vast territory and variety of natural resources. It is Russia who won. Thus, for at least twenty years, the West has continued to show his stupidity, as a consequence of the arrogance that characterizes him. The West has enormous resources and excellent capabilities in every area, but because of his lack of wisdom, he does not take advantage of them. That’s why he goes from a mistake to another, from one problem to another, from a dead end to another, and covers them with lies. It seems that the Western political system is no longer able to produce (true) statesmen.
As for Western society, it is undeniable that it is rich and advanced in all aspects of life. It is a fact that we do not deny. And it is capable of producing (even more). But its political system only allows those serving political, economic, financial or other elites to access the controls. Hence the results we see today. 
What are the foundations on which rests the Syrian political and particularly at that stage, the stage of the war?
First: Everything about the fate and future of Syria depends 100% on the Syrians, not 99% and some cents, 100%. Even our friends clearly adopt this discourse.We accept the advice wherever they come from, but the final decision may only be Syrian.
(Second): The territorial unity of Syria is one of the evidences that absolutely admits no debate or discussion.
(Third): The Syrian national identity is indisputable, but the essence of this identity is Arabism in its civilizational unifying meaning of all children of the country and all sectors of society.
Fourth: We will not allow under any circumstances to enemies, adversaries or terrorists to get through the politics, what they could not accomplish on the ground through terrorism.
The last point: The war will not change our principles.The Palestinian cause stills remains essential to us, Israel is still the enemy who occupies our territories and we always support any resistance in the region as long as it is true and not falsified, as is the case of some resistance movements.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In this war we are fighting on many fronts and in several areas in order to defeat the terrorist plot and restore peace and security in Syria. We must realize that its extension is, on a certain side, due to the fear of our enemies and adversaries to see Syria become much stronger than it was before the war. This is why we must now seriously work to build Syria’s future on solid foundations: a Syria free, strong, independent, where terrorism, extremism, traitors and foreign agents do not have their place. And that is why we must realize that the work done will be the guarantee of our fidelity to the values, traditions and interests of Syria and the Syrians. 
I wish you every success in your missions and your conference. 
Peace be upon you.