Salehi made the remarks in an opening speech of the Syrian national dialogue meeting, which was held in Tehran on Sunday on the theme of “No to Violence, Yes to Democracy.”
About 200 Syrian figures, including religious leaders, party leaders, political figures, tribal chiefs, and representatives of Syrian opposition groups as well as representatives from Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, and a number of other countries attended the meeting.
Salehi stated that the foreign ministerial meeting will be held a day before the summit of the D-8 group of developing countries in the Pakistani capital.
It will be the third time that the Iranian, Turkish, and Egyptian foreign ministers will discuss Syria.
They held their first meeting in Cairo on September 17.
The meeting in Cairo was described as the quartet meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, as members of a contact group on Syria, but neither Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal nor any other Saudi Arabian official attended the meeting.
Their second meeting was held in New York on September 29, again in Faisal’s absence.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Salehi said that the Syrian national dialogue meeting “can be a significant step toward the resolution of the current Syrian crisis, and its purpose is to help restore peace and revive the achievements of this country in the area of resistance against the Zionist regime.
“Definitely, the initiative to hold this important meeting in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which draws on the spirit of dialogue, understanding, and widespread agreement in Syria’s future, is a firm response to the interventionist initiatives of the outsiders and irresponsible armed groups that have targeted the foundation (of the country) through relying on arms, killing innocent people, and destroying economic infrastructure and historical and ancient sites of this country.
“At this sensitive juncture, today’s gathering, which takes into consideration the maintenance of independence and territorial integrity, the rule of law, respect for peaceful coexistence of various groups and religions, and the restoration of peace and security in this country, is of great importance.”
He added, “We believe that the conflicts and violence that we are unfortunately witnessing in Syria have been imposed on the Syrian people by the hegemonistic powers, for which serving their own interests has priority over the lives and possessions of the people.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Salehi enumerated a number of points that Iran have repeatedly stated in regard to the Syrian crisis.
Following are parts of the points he stated:
(1) The Islamic Republic of Iran regards a political solution and comprehensive dialogue as the best way out of the Syrian crisis;
(2) The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the unwise measures and policies of certain parties, which are taken (and adopted) within the framework of (efforts to) send arms and money to armed groups and dispatch armed people to Syria, will only make the situation of this country more complicated and intensify the violence;
(3) Unfortunately, the Syrian crisis has spread further and has become more complicated and has taken on international aspects;
(4) The completion of the reform process in Syria in a calm and peaceful atmosphere in such a way that all the Syrian people will be able to play their role in determining the country’s destiny necessitates the declaration of a truce and practical and serious commitment of all sides to it. In our view, the reforms should lead to holding a free, fair, and transparent election with the participation of all political parties, and the people should be able to determine their own destiny freely through a democratic process;
(5) Contributing to the resolution of Syria’s economic problems (caused by) the unfair sanctions that have been adopted, and sending humanitarian aid to this country is a way that should be taken into consideration by all countries and international and regional organizations.
Salehi also stated, “The Islamic Republic of Iran, through drawing on all regional and international initiatives on Syria and integrating them with each other and fully relying on a political solution, has presented its initiative to a representative of the United Nations secretary general and certain regional countries, including Turkey, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and also the Syrian government, the main points of which are a halt to violence, the declaration of ceasefire, comprehensive national dialogue, and paving the way for holding free elections.”