Italian FM Renews Support for Iran's Presence in Syria Peace Conference

Italian FM Renews Support for Iran's Presence in Syria Peace Conference

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran should be given a key role in resolving the regional conflicts, Italian foreign minister said, adding that her country emphasizes the necessity for Iran’s attendance at the upcoming Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria.

“Iran should play an essential role in finding solutions to the regional problems,” Emma Bonino said in a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, here in Tehran on Sunday.

Bonino once again underscored the need for Tehran’s participation in the upcoming peace conference on the ongoing crisis in Syria, adding that Rome is going to further discuss Iran’s “positive presence” in the gathering in the next few days.

“We still try to express our position on the presence of Iran and all those who could play a positive role in this regard (resolving the Syrian crisis),” Bonino told reporters.

In a separate interview on Friday, the Italian foreign minister had insisted that the Islamic Republic should take part in the Geneva 2 conference, saying the “absence of Iran (in the talks) will not lead to automatic resolution of regional and international issues.”

According to UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, about 30 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Brazil, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, would be invited to the day-long conference on January 22 in the Swiss city of Montreux.

Brahimi told media on Friday that Iran's participation at the Syria peace conference had not been decided upon yet due to the US opposition.

"The US is still not convinced Iran's participation would be the right thing to do," said Brahimi at a news conference after a day of meetings with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Syria’s neighbors Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

“Iran is not off the list for the moment," he added.

In the meantime, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi has stressed the necessity of Iran’s participation in the upcoming gathering.

“We urge Iran to be present at the meeting, because it is a key player… Iran's presence would be beneficial in resolving the Syria’s issue,” al-Halqi said on Saturday.

And in relevant comments of Friday, Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said the US opposition to Iran’s participation in the upcoming international conference on Syria was illogical.

“We are certain that Iran participation is important in implementing agreements that we will reach within the framework of internal Syrian dialogue,” the Russian diplomat noted.

Gatilov also said Moscow believes that Iran's involvement in the Geneva 2 talks would create the necessary political atmosphere to implement peace agreements.

The conference would bring representatives from Syria's government and elements of the opposition to negotiate an end to the fighting that has raged on since March 2011.

Geneva 2 is the second sequel of Geneva 1 conference held in June 2012 in which international parties laid out a peace plan for Syria that calls for a transitional governing body. It left open the question of whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power.

Iran says it is the Syrian people who must decide who should rule them, in a free and fair election, and not the world powers.

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