AP Interview: Syrian official says West meddling

ZEINA KARAM Associated Press Published:

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- A Syrian official says the West is trying to destabilize his country for geopolitical reasons and warns that militarizing the Syrian opposition is a big mistake that will backfire.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi says the only way out of the current crisis that has killed thousands of people is for all parties to sit around the negotiating table and engage in dialogue.

He spoke Monday in an interview in Damascus with The Associated Press.

The Syrian government of President Bashar Assad has for months been battling an uprising of Syrians calling for his ouster. Western countries, including the U.S., have condemned the increasingly bloody methods Assad's government has used to put down the revolt.

The Syrian government says it is fighting against armed groups.