Syria Working Group to Designate Terrorists

Syria Working Group  to Designate Terrorists Syria Working Group  to Designate Terrorists

Participants in the latest round of Syria peace talks in New York on Friday aimed at facilitating a political transition to settle the crisis in the Arab country agreed to establish a working group to address differences over which Syrian groups should be considered terrorists, a deputy foreign minister said.

As part of a peace plan emerging out of the previous two rounds of the talks in Vienna, the attendees are to help sort out terrorists from a large array of armed groups involved in the Syria civil war, now in its fifth year.

Opposition groups will then form a delegation to sit down with the government's representatives in formal negotiations under the United Nations auspices by a Jan. 1 deadline, expected to lead to free and fair elections in two years, IRNA reported.

"In the third international meeting on Syria, there were major differences on how to determine terrorist groups," said Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian who accompanied Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the meeting in New York.

"Zarif used logical arguments to prevent the approval of a biased proposed list of terrorists. In the end, it was agreed to form a working group made up of representatives from Iran, Russia, Oman, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan and France, tasked with compiling the list for submission to the United Nations," he said.

Amir-Abdollahian reiterated Tehran's support for Syrian-Syrian dialogue, saying, "There is no room for terrorists in the Syrian national dialogue, but the real opposition, dedicated to finding a diplomatic solution, will play its role."

  Boost to Anti-Terror Fight

After the Friday meeting, members of the United Nations Security Council voted to adopt a resolution endorsing the Syria peace plan.

Amir-Abdollahian said the new UN resolution is "expected" to boost the campaign against terrorism and the political process in Syria provided participants demonstrate commitment and show respect for the Syrian people's vote.

Participants in the talks are bitterly divided on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's fate, with the United States and its allies pressing for his removal from power as part of any ultimate political solution, while Iran and Russia insist it is up to the Syrian people to decide.

"The issue of leadership in Syria is within the Syrian people's rights," he said.

In an interview with The New Yorker published on Friday, asked about Iran's view on the role Assad should assume in Syria's prospective transition government to be established under the peace initiative, Zarif said, "It's not for us to decide what would be the role of anybody in the process. Nor is it the role of anybody else to decide."

Countries involved in the Syria talks agreed on a nationwide ceasefire to come into force as soon as preliminary steps are taken by the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition toward the transition.

"It is important for everybody to ensure that the process will go on, that the ceasefire will hold. Of course, there is no ceasefire against Daesh [the self-styled Islamic State militant group], Al-Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda," the top diplomat said, referring to some armed groups almost unanimously regarded by attendees in the Syria peace conference as terrorists.

  Crucial Steps

Zarif said for the roadmap plan to produce favorable results, two steps are crucial.

"One [step] is for the Syrian government and the opposition that is interested in a peaceful future of Syria to come together for national unity, for the political process. At the same time, it is a requirement for everybody to stop supporting the extremist groups, to stop allowing them safe passage, to stop allowing them to receive weapons, to stop allowing them to receive financial assistance and to come together in actually fighting them."