Charting Path to Syria Peace

Charting Path to Syria PeaceCharting Path to Syria Peace

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif outlined a framework for the resolution of the Syrian conflict mainly based on the non-interference of foreign players in the Arab country’s internal affairs.

In an op-ed published in the Lebanese daily As-Safir, Zarif pointed to recent developments and the two rounds of talks on the Syrian crisis in Vienna and said glimmers of hope have emerged for an end to “one of the greatest human catastrophes in the contemporary era”.

Such a prospect, he wrote, necessitates that attention be paid to a framework through which the Islamic Republic believes a potential solution to the Syrian conflict is possible.

Zarif said Iran’s view of such a solution has always been based on three principles, namely respecting the Syrian nation’s demands and right to determine their future, opposition to foreign interference in Syrian affairs and rejecting the idea of exploiting terrorism as a tool for political means.

 No Military Solution

The foreign minister said based on these principles, Iran has always stressed that the Syrian conflict has no military solution, and that the only way out is an agreed political solution based on dialogue between the government in Damascus and the Syrian opposition.

The Syrian conflict, which started in March 2011, has been exacerbated by significant foreign backing for militants fighting the government as well as the activities of the so-called Islamic State terrorist group, which has taken over parts of Syrian territory.

The conflict has thus far claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and injured over one million, according to the United Nations.

The UN appointed several special envoys to work to bring about a solution to the conflict. Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura currently holds the post. Efforts to end the Syrian conflict have recently seen two rounds of talks–participated by Iran–in Vienna, one on October 30 and another on November 14 respectively.

These talks have produced a general communiqué only, but marks substantial progress compared with previous talks held in the Swiss city of Geneva and without Iranian participation.

 Meddling Prolongs Conflict

In his op-ed, Zarif further said the prolongation of the Syrian conflict is a result of extended foreign meddling and adoption of the policy to use violence, radicalism and terrorism as tools to get back at the Syrian government and people.

Zarif said countries that lack the most basic tenets of democracy–such as a constitution and free elections–seek to impose “impractical and unacceptable” conditions on the Syrian nation.

“Their expectation to achieve a quick military win has only led to expansion and continuation of the crisis in Syria,” he said.

“Bringing an end to the Syrian conflict is only possible through popular vote in Syria.

The first step toward resolving the Syrian crisis, he stressed, is establishing a ceasefire and stopping the bloodshed, and all-out international coordination to fight terrorism and extremism.

Zarif urged foreign players to refrain from interfering in Syrian affairs and instead facilitate Syrian-Syrian dialogue.

All actors should also drop ineffective policies based on exploiting terrorism and dividing terrorists into “good” and “bad”, he wrote.