Muallem: Syria to Attend Geneva Peace Conference
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem confirmed to UN-Arab League Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi that the Syrian government will attend talks in Geneva aimed at ending the country's 31-month conflict.
Al-Muallem told Brahimi that Syria would take part in the talks "on the basis of the Syrian people's exclusive right to decide upon their political future and choosing their leadership, rejecting any form of foreign interference," state television reported.
No date has been set for the conference, but the Arab League has said it might take place on November 23-24.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, meanwhile, has sacked deputy prime minister Qadri Jamil, one of two representatives of minor opposition parties in the cabinet, DPA reported.
Jamil, who is known to be close to Russia and is currently in Moscow, was dismissed for "absence... from his place of work without prior permission and failure to perform his duties," state news agency SANA reported, quoting the prime minister's office.
The former deputy prime minister and long-time communist activist had also "engaged in activities and meetings outside the country without coordinating with the government and without respecting official procedures," the office said.
Jamil has made a number of statements suggesting that the war in Syria is at a stalemate.
Earlier, Brahimi met with Hassan Abdel-Azim, the head of the National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change, which, unlike the armed opposition in the country, is calling for political reforms and a peaceful transition.
Brahimi had arrived in Damascus on Monday as part of a regional tour ahead of peace talks planned in Geneva.