Iran, Cuba, mourn President al-Assad, Iran praises the hero of resistance
Syria-Iran-Canada, Politics, 6/12/2000
World leaders on Sunday continued their expression of sorrow for the death of the late President Hafez al-Assad. They vowed to proceed forward for establishing peace in the Middle East. Pope John Paul II and the UN Chief Kofi Annan highlighted the role played by the late al-Assad while the governments of Cuba and Iran announced official mourning.
In Tehran, guidance of the Islamic republic Ayatollah Khamenei said in his cable of condolences to Bashar al-Assad and to the Syrian government that "undoubtedly President Hafez al-Assad was a symbol and a hero of resistance in the face of Zionism. He had a key role in preventing resistance and to strengthen solidarity between the Arab world and the Islamic nation."
Iranian President Muhammad Khatami praised the late president, stressing he was one of the main leaders of the Islamic nation and that President al-Assad occupied a remarkable position in recent decades, noting that President al-Assad " put relations between Tehran and Damascus on highest levels."
Tehran radio said the government mourns al-Assad death for three days. In Istanbul, Turkish President Ahmad Najdat Cezeir expressed "his deep sorrows." He said " President al-Assad will be in history a statesman who served for the sake of Syria's prosperity."
Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said that following in the footsteps of al-Assad "will not be easy because he was a politician and a statesman who is very experienced." He noted the "many positive developments took place recently in our relations with Syria."
In China, the spokesman for the Chinese government in Beijing described President Hafez al-Assad as "a respected friend." He added that the Chinese government is convinced that "Chinese- Syrian relations will continue their development."
In Tokyo, Japan's prime minister in a statement, called on the Syrian people to continue their efforts to establish peace and stability in the region. He noted that al-Assad died, but there are still great expectations to achieving peace with Israel in the coming months.
In Ottawa, Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chretien described President al-Assad as the architect of modern Syria. He added " I was very much impressed by his commitment to achieving a just and durable peace in the Middle East."
In Rome, Italian President Carlo Ciampi considered that " Syria has lost a statesman who knew how to lead it in difficult experiments towards maintaining its stability. The Arab world and the international community have lost a wise and influential reference." He hoped that Syria would strengthen President "al-Assad's commitment to reaching peace in the Middle East and intensive cooperation with all peoples of the Mediterranean."
In the Vatican, Pope John Paul II said in a cable of condolences " After I heard news of President al-Assad's death, a leader who had ever an important role in the Middle east, I would like to share his family and the Syrian people's pains. I appeal the almighty God to help the Syrian authorities and people in these painful moments."
In Greece, the spokesman for the Greek government Demitri Rebas extended condolences to the Syrian people " who lost their President at a very critical situation for current developments in the Middle East."
In Bern, Switzerland, the spokesman for the government offered his condolences on the death of President al-Assad, hoping that "al-Assad's successor will embody the will of achieving peace."
In Cuba, Havana, the Cuban government announced four-day mourning and order flags to be half-mast on public buildings and army barracks.
In New York, the UN chief Kofi Annan said that " al-Assad was a president of an unwavering principle." He added " al-Assad's death necessitates the need to search for a comprehensive and durable solution for problems in the Middle East region."
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