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Tehran ready to help normalise relations between Turkey and Syria

November 30, 2013, 20:51 UTC+3 BEIRUT
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BEIRUT, November 30, 20:31 /ITAR-TASS/. Iran is ready to help normalise relations between Turkey and Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Saturday, November 30.

He told the Al Mayadeen television station that “serious consultations” would be held with the Syrian delegation that started its visit to Tehran on Friday, November 29, to look for a political settlement in Syria.

The deputy minister said Iran was determined to ensure the success of the inter-Syrian dialogue before the peace conference in Geneva, scheduled for January 22, 2014, took place. “We have some ideas and proposals to discuss with our Syrian colleagues,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

Earlier this week, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited Iran to restore political coordination between Ankara and Terhan on regional issues, including Syria.

Since the start of the crisis in Syria, Turkey has been supporting the government opposition, which had placed its headquarters in Istanbul, and the Recep Tayyip Erdogan government has been patronising the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood - a fundamentalist group that has been outlawed in Syria for terrorist activities. Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader al-Halqi told the SANA news agency that the talks with Iranian friends would focus on prospects for bilateral cooperation, including in new areas. He welcomed the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany) on the former’s nuclear programme. 

The Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, said earlier this week that there was still no clarity about the participation of Iran and Saudi Arabia in the conference.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insists that Iran, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia should take part in Geneva II as the most influential Muslim countries. “It has been agreed that the talks will be conducted by the Syrians themselves. They will be helped only by Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi. But the conference, and everyone agrees with this, should be opened in the presence of ‘external players’ which influence the situation one way or another or bear responsibility for maintaining peace and security,” he said.

The minister noted that the obvious candidates were those who drafted the Geneva Communique and participated in the conference in Geneva on June 30, 2012: the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the League of Arab States, the European Union, and Turkey.

“We want this circle to be enlarged because last year’s conference was not attended by Iran and Saudi Arabia, and these are two countries that are associated with the main sponsors of different warring factions in Syria,” Lavrov said.

He thinks that the presence of these countries at the conference is important because Iran is perceived as the leader of Shi’ism in Islam, and Saudi Arabia as the leader of Sunnis. “It is fundamentally important to have all branches of Islam represented because the Syrian crisis, just like many other crises in the Middle East, has a clearly pronounced Islamic dimension,” the minister said.

Lavrov also stressed the importance of inviting Indonesia to the conference, which is the world’s largest Muslim country and which “wants to take part in the conference being aware of responsibility for the situation in the Islamic world.”

“We should also invite the leaders of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which brings together all Muslims without exception and which is called upon to promote common approaches allowing Islamic countries to play an equal role in solving international problems without pandering to divisions within the Islamic world,” the Russian foreign minister said.

The goal of Geneva II would be to achieve a political solution to the conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the Government and the opposition for the full implementation of the Geneva communique, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on June 30, 2012.

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