Assad says Syria open to dialogue with US

Picture released on March 22, 2015 by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) meeting with Russia’’s Special Envoy Azmatullah Kolmohammadov (6L) and accompanying delegation (AFP Photo/Ho)

Washington (AFP) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is open to dialogue with the United States, the leader said in an interview with US television network CBS.

Assad said such dialogue would need to be based on “mutual respect,” but that so far there has been no contact from the Americans.

“But as principal, in Syria we could say that every dialogue is a positive thing,” he told television journalist Charlie Rose, in excerpts of an interview to air Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes” program.

When asked about relations between Syria and the United States, Assad said there was no direct communication.

State Department officials recently said Assad will “never” be part of a negotiation to end the Syrian conflict that is now in its fifth year, but that officials from his government could be part of the process…