Assad: "We Have" Chemical Weapons, "Not Secret Anymore"

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 18 2013 10:13 PM

Assad: "We Have" Chemical Weapons, "Not Secret Anymore"

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C) and the head of Syria's journalists union, Saber Falhut (R), at the opening session of a journalists' conference in Damascus 15 August 2006.

Photo by LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images

A Fox News interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad aired on Wednesday night, where Assad, when asked if he had chemical weapons, responded: "Of course, when we joined the treaty last week, it means that we have, and we said that, so it’s not secret anymore."

Last week, Syria formally requested to join the U.N. Chemical Weapons Convention, prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons.

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The interview was conducted in Damascus by former Democratic congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich and Fox senior correspondent Greg Palkot.

Here's a transcript of the exchange provided by state run SANA news agency:

Fox News: We know that President Obama and Secretary Kerry have said in the past that you were lying – that’s their word, not mine – when you said that you didn’t have any chemical weapons. A few days ago, in an interview with Russia Channel 24 you admitted you had chemical weapon stockpiles. Now, I just want to make sure we’re clear before we go forward: do you or do you not have chemical weapons?
President Assad: First of all, regarding what Obama and Kerry said, I dare them to say that we said "no" once. We never said it. We never said no, we never said yes, but we always say it’s a classified issue, we don’t have to discuss it, and if we want to talk about it, we say "if" and "if" means you may have it, you may not. So, this is a blatant lie.
Fox News: Okay, but can you tell us now? Do you have chemical weapons or don’t you?
President Assad: Of course, when we joined the treaty last week, it means that we have, and we said that, so it’s not secret anymore.

Here's Part 1 of the interview:

Here's Part 2:

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.