The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad has been sworn in for his second seven year term of office. In his speech to the People’s Assembly in Damascus, the 41 year old called on Israel to openly declare its desire for peace in the region. He said Syria will only enter peace talks with Israel if its neighbour withdraws from the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel in 1967, and annexed in 1981.
The two countries are formally at war.
Bashar al-Assad took over the reins of office when his father died in 2000.
He was re-elected to power in a ballot at the end of May.
There were no opposition candidates.