AP Interview: Ahmadinejad pushes new world order
NEW YORK (AP) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that a new world order needs to emerge, away from American "bullying" and domination.
Ahmadinejad spoke to The Associated Press in a wide-ranging interview on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly -- his last as president of Iran.
He also discussed solutions for Syria, dismissed the question of Iran's nuclear ambition and claimed that despite Western sanctions his country is better off than it was when he took office in 2005.
"God willing, a new order will come together and we'll do away with everything that distances us," Ahmadinejad said. "Now even elementary school kids throughout the world have understood that the United States government is following an international policy of bullying."
"Bullying must come to an end. Occupation must come to an end," he added.
Ahmadinejad said Iran was one of nearly a dozen countries forming a new contact group to try to end the 18-month-old civil war in Syria. The group would include `10 or 11 countries in the Middle East and elsewhere and meet in New York "very soon," Ahmadinejad said.
He said the group hopes to get government and the opposition to sit across from each other.
Activists say nearly 30,000 people have died in the Syrian uprising that began in the March 2011.
Earlier this month, Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi announced the formation of a four-member contact group with Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia so far has not participated.
It was unclear how Ahmadinejad's contact group would combine with the earlier effort by Morsi or mediating efforts of international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
He announced it ahead of a Friday meeting of key countries in the so-called Friends of Syria group, which supports the opposition and is planning for a transition after the departure of President Bashar Assad.
"I will do everything in my power to create stability, peace and understanding in Syria," Ahmadinejad said.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)