Syria's president ruled out on Thursday any cooperation with an international court to try suspects for the 2005 murder of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri if it threatens his country's sovereignty.
"We consider that the international tribunal concerns only Lebanon and the United Nations and that we are not directly concerned," Bashar al-Assad said in a speech to parliament.
"Any cooperation requested from Syria which could compromise our national sovereignty is rejected."
"Syria is cooperating with the commission but not with the tribunal. There is a difference between cooperation and abandoning our independence," Assad told parliament.
"We have cooperated with the international commission of inquiry and we reiterate our readiness to cooperate it as long as it respect our laws and our sovereignty."
Assad was speaking before a session of parliament, which unanimously endorsed his candidacy for a new term in office and which must now fix a date for a referendum.
The president, who succeeded his late father Hafez in 2000, also played down the prospects for Middle East peace, saying Israel's weakened cabinet was not ready and Washington had abandoned its role as honest broker.
Last Mod: 10 Mayıs 2007, 19:40