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Iran ready to mediate talks between Syrian government, opposition

August 09, 2012, 13:41 UTC+3

Iranian Foreign Minister considers “an illusion the idea that, in that event, there would be an orderly transition of power”

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WASHINGTON, August 9 (Itar-Tass) — Iran is ready to mediate the talks between the Syrian government and the opposition, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said.

In an interview with the Washington Post newspaper on Thursday, Salehi said: “I hereby announce Iran’s readiness to host a meeting of countries committed to immediately implementing these steps in hopes of ending the violence. As part of our commitment to resolve the crisis, I also reiterate our willingness to facilitate talks between the Syrian government and the opposition and to host such a dialogue.”

“Taking Annan’s six-point plan into consideration, Iran looks forward to bringing like-minded countries together to implement three essential points: Ensure an immediate cease-fire to stop the bloodshed, dispatch humanitarian aid to the Syrian people and prepare the ground for dialogue to solve the crisis,” the Iranian minister stressed.

Iran is ready “to facilitate talks between the Syrian government and the opposition and to host such a dialogue”, he added.

“Moreover, in line with Annan’s six-point plan, I once again declare Iran’s support for political reform in Syria that will allow the Syrian people to decide their destiny. This includes ensuring that they have the right to participate in the upcoming free and fair presidential election under international supervision,” Salehi pointed out.

Commenting on Iran’s intention to settle the conflict, Salehi said, “Iran is part of the solution, not the problem. As the world has witnessed during the past decade, we have acted as a stabilizing force in Iraq and Afghanistan, two other Muslim countries thrown into turmoil. The stability of our region is paramount for world peace and tranquillity.”

The minister considers “an illusion the idea that, in that event, there would be an orderly transition of power”. “Syrian society is a beautiful mosaic of ethnicities, faiths and cultures, and it will be smashed to pieces should President Bashar al-Assad abruptly fall.” “Iran seeks a solution that is the interest of everyone.”

“The European response to the Syrian crisis has been particularly contradictory. Little, if anything, is said about the increasing presence of armed extremists in Syria. Even while preoccupied with the rising extremism in Afghanistan, thousands of miles away, European leaders seem unconcerned that they may soon have an Afghanistan on their doorstep,” Salehi said.

In his words, “to borrow the words of my respected friend Kofi Annan, who recently resigned from his post as special U.N. envoy to the Syrian conflict after seeing his peacemaking efforts continuously undermined, military means alone won’t end the crisis, and a political agenda that is neither inclusive nor comprehensive will also fail.”

According to the Iranian minister, “although Annan’s efforts to end the crisis have been terminated, his six-point plan for political change is alive and well. Why should seeds of discord continue to be planted when the situation can be resolved rationally, through wisdom and providence? Those backing violence in Syria fail to see that whatever they seek through their actions won’t materialize.”

“Abrupt political change without a roadmap for managed political transition will lead only to a precarious situation that would destabilize one of the world’s most sensitive regions,” he stressed.

In addition, Salehi noted, “Some world powers and certain states in the region need to stop using Syria as a battleground for settling scores or jostling for influence. The only way out of the stalemate is to offer Syrians a chance to find a way out themselves.”

“As the holy month of Ramadan nears its end, I pray that Syrians will get to break their fast in peace and stability sooner rather than later — for their own interests and those of the world,” the Iranian foreign minister pointed out.

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