Publishe Date: 6:40 PM - 12/26/2013 | Print

Russian FM Reiterates Iran's Vital Role in Settlement of Syrian Crisis

Politics - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underscored the importance of the International Geneva II Peace Conference to find a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis, and said depriving such an important gathering from Iran's assistance would mean pursuing an “unrealistic” approach.

Lavrov on Wednesday stressed the necessity of Iran’s presence in the upcoming international conference aiming to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and said the issue of Iran’s participation in the upcoming conference on Syria has not been solved yet and Iran has not been included in the list of countries to attend the conference.

Moscow believes that all countries which can influence the situation in Syria should be invited to the conference, he said.

The Russian foreign minister said that first of all the Syrian neighboring countries should attend the conference and at the same time Iran and Saudi Arabia should take part in the event given their influence.

He called any opposition to Iran’s presence as “unrealistic and ideological” approach to the issue.

Lavrov said that certain countries argue that as Iran has not signed the Geneva agreement in the previous conference on Syria, it will play non-constructive role in the upcoming conference but (they should pay attention that) among the Western governments that there is no objection to their presence are countries that they have done nothing to help the Conference and they have made attempts to damage the mediatory process.

Last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined that Iran is ready to take part in the upcoming Geneva II conference on the Syrian crisis “without any preconditions”.

On November 26, Ban announced that the Syrian government and opposition negotiators would meet for the first time since start of the country's 32 month-old crisis in Geneva on January 22, 2014. Ban said the landmark conference it would be "a mission of hope".

After the UN announced the date for the gathering, Iran's foreign minister said Tehran would be in Geneva on January 22, unless the US-led West tries to set a precondition for Tehran.

After the UN declared the date for the high-profile gathering, its envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that the Geneva II conference on Syria, set for January 22, would start “without any preconditions”.

The US has long tried to ask for prerequisites to allow Tehran's participation in the conference, but after Iran's ally, the Syrian government, made major advances and pushed back terrorists in the battlefield, Washington now seems to have changed its approach.

Iran has repeatedly announced that it would never accept any prerequisite for its participation in the conference, reminding that no regional crisis can be soothed or solved without the aid, views and cooperation of Iran as a regional power.

In relevant remarks late September, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined that Tehran is ready to take part in the planned Geneva II conference on the Syrian crisis, but “without any preconditions”.

“If invited without any preconditions, Iran will participate in the Geneva II conference in order to help resolve the Syrian crisis,” President Rouhani said in a meeting with UN and Arab League Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in New York in September.

During the meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the 68th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Iranian president urged an immediate settlement to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Brahimi, for his part, briefed the Iranian president on the latest developments in Syria, and said he would like to see Tehran attend the upcoming Geneva II conference.

Iranian officials have repeatedly underlined that Tehran is in favor of negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition groups to create stability in the Middle Eastern country.

The conflict in Syria started in March 2011, when sporadic pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of western and regional states.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle-East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.

As the foreign-backed insurgency in Syria continues without an end in sight, the US government has boosted its political and military support to Takfiri extremists.

Washington has remained indifferent to warnings by Russia and other world powers about the consequences of arming militant groups.

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