Assad Should Be Part of Solution

Assad Should Be Part of Solution Assad Should Be Part of Solution

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot be denied a role in the future of his country and should be involved in efforts to find a solution to the crisis raging in the Arab state, the deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs said.

"There cannot be an alternative to Assad," Hossein Amir Abdollahian said in talks with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil in Beirut on Tuesday, reiterating that the Syrian crisis can be effectively resolved only through a "diplomatic solution."

"Assad should be part of such solution," he stressed, ISNA reported.

Amir Abdollahian had met UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura the previous day.

Assad's future is a point of contention between his allies, including Iran and Russia, and western powers which want Assad to step down under any settlement. The senior diplomat said the Islamic Republic's initiative to arrange meetings with Persian Gulf Arab countries is part of Tehran's efforts to promote security in the region and prevent war.

  Positive Conditions

Bassil praised Iran's regional diplomacy, describing its move to reach out to countries in the region as "positive".

"Regional states need Iran. By strengthening relations with them, Iran can help create more positive conditions in the region."

He said foreign interference in his country's affairs is a major cause of problems, noting that Beirut's strength lies in the support of three elements, namely the army, the people and resistance, a point that anyone seeking to promote stability in Lebanon should take notice of.

The presidency has been vacant in Lebanon for more than a year, since Michel Suleiman's term expired in May 2014, due to deep differences among officials, who have been unable to reach a deal to fill the post. No parliamentary poll has taken place since 2009. Elsewhere, Amir Abdollahian said in a meeting with UN special envoy for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag that Iran is ready to help Beirut overcome the obstacles that have prevented the election of a president but noted that "the issue of electing a president is an issue of Lebanon."

"We believe that officials and leaders of Lebanese political groups are wise and prudent enough to resolve such problems."

He warned of Israel's "evil plots" in the region and called for higher vigilance among all countries to help foil them.