FM: Iran to Participate in Syria Conference if Invited
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran will participate in Geneva peace conference on Syria if it is invited by the UN, Iranian foreign minister said in a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, who stressed Moscow's support for Tehran's participation in Geneva 2.
"We will take part if we are invited, otherwise we will not attend it," Zarif said in Moscow.
The issue was raised by Zarif in a joint press conference with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Lavrov, too, renewed Moscow’s stance on the necessity of Iran’s full and active presence in any initiative aimed at resolving crisis in Syria.
Zarif is in Russia after a tour of region, which took him to Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Syria.
Speaking at a press conference at Lebanon’s Rafiq Hariri International airport upon his arrival in Lebanon on Sunday evening, 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.
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.