Iran Indispensible Part of Syria Talks

Iran Indispensible Part  of Syria Talks Iran Indispensible Part  of Syria Talks

German's foreign minister said time is of essence to act on the Syrian crisis through negotiations involving Iran as a major regional player, among other concerned parties.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier wrote in an article published by the New York Times on Friday that the July nuclear deal between Iran and major powers, including Germany, "has opened a new window of opportunity for the region and possibly a chance to break the gridlock on Syria."

"But there are worrying signs that this opportunity for progress on Syria is slipping away…. It would be inexcusable if the world let this historic opportunity slip away. And it would be folly to continue betting on a military solution."

"Instead, now is the time to find a way to bring the parties to the negotiating table. This must include preparatory talks with and among crucial regional actors like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but also Iran," Steinmeier said.

He noted that unless the international community acts promptly the window will soon close.

"We should all use our influence to help launch this process before the window of opportunity before us closes, I fear, not in months, but in weeks."

***UN Initiative   

Steinmeier backed as "the most promising" solution to the Syria conflict a plan by United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura to prepare the ground for "a political process" in Syria.


"The plan envisages launching a dialogue between the conflict parties in four thematic working groups, backed by a contact group comprising key international and regional actors," the top German diplomat said, adding, "I am confident that this is the most promising way to go."

As two key allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran has welcomed and Russia has backed the plan.

It was endorsed by the United Nations last month and is expected to be implemented later this month.

A separate peace plan was submitted to Assad by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a visit to Damascus on August 12, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told a recent press conference in the Syrian capital on September 3.

He said any initiative to end the conflict would have to recognize "the pivotal role of Assad."

"Any successful plan to find a solution to the Syrian crisis must take into consideration the central role of the Syrian people in deciding their future and fate, and the role of the government and of Assad are essential and pivotal in the potential solution," he was quoted by AFP as saying.

Assad's departure is the top demand of Syria's opposition in exile, the so-called National Coalition, which has insisted that the president should have no role in a future Syria.

The coalition's position is shared by western powers.

Amir Abdollahian gave no further details about the plan but the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen television channel said it includes a call for "an immediate ceasefire", the formation of a "unity government" and "constitutional amendments".

According to Al-Mayadeen, the initiative also stipulates that elections must be held in Syria and monitored by international observers.