Deputy FM Terms Vienna Meeting Start of Good, Constructive Talks on Syria
“The meeting can herald the start of good and constructive multilateral talks,” Amir Abdollahian told reporters in Vienna on Friday after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian and American counterparts, Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry, as well as European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini ended their meeting on Syria.
“At the end of the Vienna talks, it was decided that such meetings continue in the same form or within the framework of a contact group,” he added.
Amir Abdollahian also underlined that the important points in the statement issued by the Iranian and his foreign counterparts were the emphasis laid on the Syrian people’s role in deciding their own fate, the important role of the UN in the political process in Syria and the necessity for all countries’ assistance to Syria to fight against the terrorist groups.
Following the talks on Friday, Zarif strongly rejected allegations that Iran has accepted a time plan for the stepping down of the Syrian President.
Zarif said he had told Kerry that Iran was opposed to specification of a timetable for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave power, and added, “We don’t confirm such issues and don’t allow certain people to misuse this meeting to release false news.”
Also, on Thursday, the Iranian top diplomat underlined that Tehran had been invited to attend the Vienna conference without accepting any conditions.
“There has been no prerequisite for Iran’s presence in the Vienna conference; if it were so we would never take part in the meeting,” Zarif told reporters upon arrival in Vienna.
He said that those who had partnered in efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis had come to the conclusion that there would be no rational solution to the Syrian crisis in the absence of Iran.
Top diplomats from Iran, Russia, the United States, France, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey convened in Vienna on Friday to discuss the Syrian crisis.
It was the first time that Iran had been invited to take part in the talks. Iran was not invited to the first Geneva conference, and while the country primarily received an invitation to take part in the second Geneva conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon later rescinded the invitation under pressure from the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the foreign-backed Syrian opposition.