Monday, September 16, 2019 04:41

Top diplomats see role for Iran in talks on Syria

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The U.S. Secretary of State says if Iran is prepared to approve the decisions made at the first Geneva conference regarding the Syrian conflict, then it could be a party to the upcoming Geneva-2 conference.

Interfax reports that John Kerry had this to say on Monday January 13, following a meeting with Sergey Lavrov, his Russian counterpart, and Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN envoy: “We approve the participation of Iran [in Geneva-2], and if Iran confirms its participation in the conference strictly within the goals set out for the Geneva-2 conference, we would welcome its participation. It will also be able to contribute to a peaceful settlement of the issue.”

He added: “Iran should let us and the UN see that they are willing to come to the conference on continuing the work of Geneva-1; it is necessary for Iran to play a positive role and to implement the decisions of Geneva-1.”

Russia and Brahimi have supported letting Iran join the peace talks on Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said at the Paris meeting with his American counterpart that Iran and Saudi Arabia should be invited to the Geneva-2 talks.

He stressed that the UN should extend invitations to countries that are influential in the region.

Brahimi told reporters that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has sent an invitation to Iran to participate in the Geneva-2 talks but he added that the invitation has to be confirmed by the countries that initiated the talks.

Meanwhile Reuters reports that on Sunday January 12 “Friends of Syria” an alliance of Western and Gulf Arab states that oppose Beshar Assad regime, called on opposition groups to participate in the Geneva 2 talks because they believe it is the only path toward a political solution.

The talks are set for January 22 but there is yet to be an official announcement of whether an opposition delegation will be there.