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Peace, stability required for development: Annan

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Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has expressed concern about the ongoing situation in Syria, saying sustainable development will be achieved by promoting peace and stability.

“There can be no long-term development without peace and stability and there can be no long-term stability without development and both have to be rooted in rule of law and respect for human rights,” Annan, who is the head of a group of ex-global leaders known as the Elders, said in a statement in Tehran on Monday.

He added that everyone is duty-bound to promote peace in the world and must unite to resolve problems.

“All of us, including our Iranian hosts, are deeply concerned about the tragic situation in Syria today. We must all do our best to help reduce suffering and put the interests of the people of Syria to the fore,” Annan, who served as UN-Arab League envoy to Syria for five months in 2012, stated.

“Strong democratic and healthy societies are built on three pillars: first is peace and stability, second development and finally rule of law and respect for human rights,” he pointed out.

He noted that the group’s visit to Iran is aimed at meeting with senior Iranian officials and “hear from a range of opinion about current developments in particular those affecting this region.”

Annan arrived in Tehran early on Sunday along with Martti Ahtisaari, a former president of Finland, South Africa’s Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu and Mexican ex-president Ernesto Zedillo.

The Elders, formed in 2007, is comprised of 12 global leaders who try “to promote peace, justice and human rights,” according to its website.

Prior to Annan’s arrival, the group’s website said the visit aims “to encourage and advance the new spirit of openness and dialogue between Iran and the international community, and to explore what could be done to enhance cooperation on regional issues.”

On Saturday, Annan said the Islamic Republic of Iran plays a crucial role in guaranteeing stability in the region.

“If we are going to have peace and stability in the Middle East, it is essential that Iran plays its natural role in the region,” he said.

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