Preconditions by foreign players prolonging Syria crisis: Zarif
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says preconditions set by certain foreign parties about Syria’s political future are merely prolonging the bloodshed in the Arab country.
Zarif made the remark on Wednesday upon arrival in New York for the third round of international talks aimed at finding a solution to the Syria crisis.
The Iranian foreign minister reiterated the Syrian nation’s right to decide their own fate without the meddling of outside parties.
Zarif further called on foreign powers to stop setting preconditions, which have merely caused the violence in Syria to drag on. He said Iran seeks a ceasefire and settlement of differences through dialog and the formation of a national unity government in the conflict-torn country.
The one-day gathering in New York is scheduled to kick off on Friday. Foreign ministers from 17 countries, including Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US, will try to work out a solution for Syria’s nearly five-year-long crisis.
Zarif further said although necessary preparations have not been made for this round of talks, the Islamic Republic decided to participate in the negotiations to make sure the terrorist groups that have the blood of Syrians on their hands will gain no role in the Arab county’s future.
Among the main challenges hindering peace in Syria are the Daesh terror group’s access to financial resources from illegal oil sales as well as the flow of foreign militants joining the ranks of Daesh on Syrian soil, according to the top Iranian diplomat.
The Syrian conflict, which started in March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or out of its borders.
The first two rounds of talks on Syria were held in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on October 30 and November 14.
Sideline talks on JCPOA
The Iranian foreign minister said he will also hold bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of a number of P5+1 countries to discuss the implementation of the nuclear deal clinched between Tehran and the other six countries.
Iran and the P5+1 group – the United States, Britain, France, China, and Russia plus Germany – concluded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna on July 14.
Under the JCPOA, limits are put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related economic and financial bans against the Islamic Republic.