Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif once again underlined that Iran is ready to take part in the planned Geneva II conference on the Syrian crisis “without any preconditions”.
The UN announced on Monday 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 a press conference after the 21st Meeting of the ECO Council of Ministers in Tehran on Tuesday.
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”.
The US has long tried to ask for prerequisites to allow Tehran’s participation in the conference, but after Iran’s ally, the Syrian government, made major advances and pushed back terrorists in the battlefield, Washington now seems to have changed its approach.
Iran has repeatedly announced that it would never accept any prerequisite for its participation in the conference, reminding that no regional crisis can be soothed or solved without the aid, views and cooperation of Iran as a regional power. In relevant remarks late September, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined that Tehran is ready to take part in the planned Geneva II conference on the Syrian crisis, but “without any preconditions”.
“If invited without any preconditions, Iran will participate in the Geneva II conference in order to help resolve the Syrian crisis,” President Rouhani said in a meeting with UN and Arab League Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in New York in September.
During the meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the 68th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Iranian president urged an immediate settlement to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Brahimi, for his part, briefed the Iranian president on the latest developments in Syria and said he would like to see Tehran attend the upcoming Geneva II conference.
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.