Syria

President Rouhani: Geneva II Conference Should Focus on Terrorists’ Exit from Syria

President Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that the Geneva II conference should focus on expelling the foreign-backed terrorists from Syria.

During the meeting in Tehran on Thursday, President Rouhani said the international conference on Syria to be held in Geneva should focus on the full exit of terrorists from Syria and preparing the ground for holding free elections in that country.

Al-Maliki, for his part, said that Iraq believes that all regional problems will be solved through the efforts being made by the new Iranian government.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined late

November that Iran is ready to take part in the planned Geneva II conference on the Syrian crisis “without any preconditions”.

The UN announced in November that the Syrian government and opposition negotiators would meet for the first time since start of the country’s 32 month-old crisis in Geneva on 22 January. UN leader Ban Ki-moon said in announcing the landmark conference that it would be “a mission of hope”.

After the UN announced the date for the gathering, Iran’s foreign minister said Tehran would be in Geneva on January 22, unless the US-led West tries to set a precondition for Tehran.

“If Iran is invited to attend the Geneva II conference, we will take part in the conference without any precondition,” Zarif told reporters at the time.

After the UN declared the date for the high-profile gathering, its envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that the Geneva II conference on Syria, set for January 22, would start “without any preconditions”.

Iranian officials have repeatedly underlined that Tehran is in favor of negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition groups to create stability in the Middle Eastern country.

Last November, Iran hosted a meeting between the representatives of the Syrian government and opposition to encourage them to start talks to find a political solution to their problems. The National Dialogue Conference kicked off work in Tehran mid November with the motto of ‘No to Violence, Yes to Democracy”.

The meeting brought together almost 200 representatives of various Syrian ethnicities, political groups, minorities, the opposition, and state officials.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against the Syrian police, border guards, statesmen, army and civilians being reported across the country.

Thousands of people have been killed since terrorist and armed groups turned protest rallies into armed clashes.

The government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.

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