Tunisia repeats offer of asylum for Assad

2012-03-08 14:05

London - Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki repeated his offer of asylum to Bashar al-Assad in an interview to be shown on Thursday, after Russia said the Syrian leader was not welcome there.

Building on a proposal he made last week, Marzouki agreed that Assad was a "murderer" but said the north African country was prepared to grant him refuge if it helped bring peace to Syria after nearly a year of violence.

"If we want to stop the killing the only way is to have a solution like the Yemeni solution: that the president leaves power and that he has safe haven, somewhere to go," the Tunisian leader told BBC World News.

"Otherwise he will continue to kill and to kill and to kill.

"And this is why we said: look, if the price of peace in Syria is to give a safe haven to this guy, why not?"

During an international conference on Syria in Tunis last month, Marzouki called for judicial immunity for Assad and his family and suggested that Russia could offer him refuge as part of a political solution to the crisis.

However, Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin on Wednesday rejected this idea, telling Kremlin reporters: "We are not even discussing this question."

Marzouki told the BBC that Tunisia felt some responsibility for the anti-Assad protests in Syria, which followed the uprising that ousted Tunisian leader Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.

"The Syrian revolution comes just after our own, so we feel that we have a kind of moral responsibility towards Syrians," the Tunisian president said in the interview recorded on Tuesday.

"And Syrians, also, are Muslims, they are our brothers so I really can't accept that every day you have 100 people killed by the regime. So my obsession is to stop the killing, this is my main problem."

He added: "I proposed Russia but Russia didn't want, they weren't very happy with the idea and they said: look, why you, Tunisians, don't take this man.

"I said OK, if this is the price, I accept to pay this price. This is a high price but we have to pay it because life is much more important than justice."

  • Anthony - 2012-03-08 14:54

    President Marcef Marouki, many in the world take their hat of to you. You are a great leader !!!1 Although you acknowledge that this assad is a MURDERER, for the sake of the Syrian people, you will offer him asylum. Many might not agree with you, but if this will stop the killing, maybe it is a solution. Now it is up to this CRIMINAL THUG, to decide; either asylum or a free lift on the back of a bakkie!!!!!

  • nowicki1 - 2012-03-08 15:36

    Anthony, with Assad gone and the vacuum of power that would follow. It would bring anything but peace and stability. Especially with so much foreign interference.

      Fred - 2012-03-08 16:51

      Couldn't help put the dig-in about "foreign interference". This pseudo-vioctimhood that you continue to ply renders your perspective weak and unreliable.

      nowicki1 - 2012-03-08 21:39 - This would explain your views.

      Anthony - 2012-03-08 22:07

      Latest comment in Africa nowicki1 says... - This would explain your views. Read the article... ???????!!!!!!!!!!?????????!!!!!!!!!!

      Fred - 2012-03-10 07:33

      Like there's peace and stability now. What a silly thought.

  • Michael - 2012-03-09 10:18

    Could be a positive step but might need some other influential broker such as Kofi Annan to work on as well. It certainly will give him an additional possibility as he goes about his peace mission.

      Fred - 2012-03-10 07:35

      Assad has butchered thousands of civilians and family members, detained and tortured tens of thousands more. There's no asylum for people who do this. There's only eternal repentance in a facility separate from humanity.

      Fred - 2012-03-10 07:36

      But it is consistent that the two of you think like this. You both just don't get what's really going on.

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