IranSyria

Iran rejects ‘conditional’ presence in Syria talks

332147_Geneva-ConferenceThe Iranian ambassador to Damascus says preconditions for taking part in next month’s Geneva peace conference on Syria must not be limited to the Islamic Republic.

“If the Islamic Republic of Iran’s participation in the meeting depends on accepting preconditions, this must be necessary to all sides,” said Mohammad Reza Raouf Sheibani following a Wednesday meeting with UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus.

The Iranian envoy questioned, “Have they set any preconditions for the participation of other parties who are among the serious supporters of terrorism in the developments in Syria and the region?”

Sheibani further stressed that conditioning the participation in the Syria conference contradicts the objective of reaching a political solution to the foreign-sponsored turmoil gripping the Arab country since March 2011.

The upcoming Geneva meeting, which was proposed by Russia and the US on May 7, is expected to be held in November. The date of the long-awaited event, dubbed Geneva II, has changed many times as Syria’s foreign-backed opposition coalition remains divided over attending the talks.

On October 7, US State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf said Washington would agree to Iran’s participation in Geneva II talks if Tehran accepted the Geneva Communiqué, which was approved in 2012. Tehran slammed the US move as unacceptable.

According to the Iranian ambassador, Brahimi once again underlined the necessity of Iran’s presence in the Geneva II talks during their meeting.

If it participates, Iran will assist all the negotiating sides in forming a national alliance and safeguarding Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, added Sheibani.

Brahimi is currently on an extensive Middle East tour aimed at making preparations for the planned Geneva peace talks. He visited Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, Turkey and Iran before arriving in Syria on October 28.

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