ROME (AFP) – The United States has lost its influence in the Middle East peace process despite the hopes raised by President Barack Obama, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview published Monday.
Assad was quoted as telling the Italian daily La Repubblica that Washington “has no influence because they don’t do anything for peace. But they remain the greatest power.”
“Obama raised hopes but we cannot wait any more,” he said, adding that a “new era has been born” in the Middle East including an understanding between its major powers that was reshaping the region.
He pointed to a similar phenomenon throughout the world, with countries such as China and Brazil refusing to wait for the United States to “hand out roles”.
Assad said there had been a realisation that the United States and Europe had failed to resolve the problems of the Middle East, noting that Russia was trying to rebuild its own role in the region.
On relations with Israel, the Syrian leader said that if Israel was ready to return the Golan Heights to Syria “we would not be able to say no to a peace treaty”.
But he added that any deal would have to include a complete solution of the Palestinian issue and that he thought Israel was “not ready for an accord at the moment”.