Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he would be open to a dialogue with the United States, but that it must be "based on mutual respect."
In an interview with CBS, Assad was responding to recent comments by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that the U.S. must eventually talk with the Syrian president in order to help broker an end to the country's civil war.
Assad told CBS that so far there is only a statement and nothing "concrete" regarding the U.S. political approach toward solving the Syrian crisis. But in principle, he said, "Every dialogue is a positive thing, and we are going to be open to any dialogue with anyone, including the United States, regarding anything based on mutual respect."
The Syrian leader said there is currently no direct communication between U.S. and Syrian governments. The two countries suspended diplomatic relations last year.
The Obama administration has long pushed for a negotiated political settlement to Syria's conflict, which has killed more than 210,000 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.