ASSAD TO BE LAID TO REST TOMORROW [Archives:2000/24/Front Page]

June 12 2000

The Syrian President Hafiez Al-Assad died last Saturday afternoon at the age of 69. He had been President since 1971. Soon after his death, the Syrian Parliament met to amend article 83 of the Syrian Constitution so that the president has to be at least 34 years old. Previously, the constitution stated that the president must be at least 40 years old.
Born in 1930, Al-Assad showed interest in public issues during the period which witnessed the Second World War. He participated in the demonstrations against the French Occupation as well as in the political activities to attain independence which was achieved on April 17th 1946. He took over various positions in the government.
The announcement of his death prompted different reactions from all over the world. President Saleh expressed his deep sorrow for the death of Al-Assad and described him as” one of the greatest Arab leaders”.The American President Bill Clinton described Al-Assad as courageous regardless of their different views. Political analysts think that the death of Al-Assad will affect Mideast politics, particularly the Mideast peace process. Al-Assad will be laid to rest on Tuesday, June 13. A good number of Arab as well as international leaders, including President Ali Abdullah Saleh, are expected to attend his funeral.