FM Rejects Preconditions for Iran’s Presence in Syria Conference

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian foreign minister once again voiced the country’s opposition to any precondition for its participation in the upcoming Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria, noting that Tehran does not seek an invitation to the gathering.

FM Rejects Preconditions for Iran’s Presence in Syria Conference

Speaking at a press conference at Lebanon’s Rafiq Hariri International airport upon his arrival in Lebanon on Sunday evening, Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated that Iran is ready to take part in the Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria, albeit without any preconditions.

“Iran will participate in the upcoming Geneva 2 talks on Syria if it is invited without any preconditions. However, we are not seeking this invitation,” he explained.

Zarif also insisted that a political solution was the only way to settle the prolonged crisis in Syria, and affirmed that Iran would welcome any initiative that includes such an approach.

“We believe that a political solution is the only way to end the crisis in Syria. The sole path to end extremism, terrorism, and sectarianism is to accept the Syrian people’s demand through ballot boxes,” the minister noted.

The much delayed Geneva 2 conference on Syria is set to be held in the Swiss city of Montreux on January 22.

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.

The final communiqué issued on 30 June 2012, following the meeting of the so-called Action Group for Syria called for an immediate cessation of violence and the establishment of a transitional government that could include officials serving under President Bashar al-Assad and members of the opposition.

Iranian officials have on different occasions rejected any precondition for the country’s attendance at the long-awaited Geneva 2 conference.

Earlier on January 6, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham lashed out at the US secretary of state for his remarks on Iran’s possible role on the sidelines of the upcoming Geneva 2 conference on Syria, saying Tehran only accepts proposals that uphold the country's dignity.

“Tehran only accepts proposals that would comply with the Islamic Republic of Iran's honor,” she said, reacting to the US Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments on how Tehran should attend at the upcoming peace conference on Syria.

Kerry had announced in early January that Iran could be helpful even on the sidelines of a second round of Geneva talks on Syria.
The top US diplomat made clear that it would be difficult to see how Tehran could be a "ministerial partner" in the upcoming negotiations because it did not participate in the first round of talks.

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