Appeal for Syria Support Group’s Serious Engagement

Appeal for Syria Support Group’s Serious Engagement Appeal for Syria Support Group’s Serious Engagement

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on all sides involved in the Syria peace process to engage seriously in negotiations for finding a political solution to the five-year-old crisis in the Arab country.  

Zarif made the statement on the sidelines of a meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Munich on Thursday.

The top diplomat pointed to "certain subversive attempts" that led to a halt in Syria talks earlier this month, stressing that "we are now at an important juncture and the negotiations need to be pursued seriously", Press TV reported.

The latest round of talks between the warring sides in Syria, which was held in the Swiss city of Geneva on February 3, was suspended after the Saudi-backed opposition group, known as the High Negotiation Committee, refused to attend the sessions.

Observers say the HNC refused to continue after the Syrian Army, backed by Russian air cover, made significant gains against militant groups on several fronts, particularly in the strategic northern province of Aleppo.

The opposition has now called for halting Russia's anti-terror campaign as a condition for its participation in the negotiations, which are expected to resume on February 25.

Zarif stressed that a solution to the Syria conflict has been overdue, adding that the "wrong policies as well as irrational, impractical and illegal preconditions" are to blame for a delay in reaching a solution to the crisis in the Arab country.

The senior Iranian official reaffirmed opposition to any foreign interference in Syria and said outsiders should only help facilitate a peace process in Syria.

"Western and regional countries should recognize the realities behind a joint full-fledged fight against extremism and sectarianism and work toward a logical solution to the Syria crisis."

Zarif underlined the need for the utmost discretion in sorting out real opposition representatives from terrorists for the peace talks to bear fruit.

  Agreement on Syria Ceasefire

According to Reuters, ISSG participants agreed to a cessation of hostilities in Syria set to begin in a week and help provide rapid humanitarian access to besieged Syrian towns.

After the marathon meeting aimed at resurrecting the collapsed peace talks, the parties, including the United States, Russia and more than a dozen other nations, reaffirmed their commitment to a political transition when conditions on the ground improved.

The communique of the plan reached in Munich said the ISSG had established a ceasefire taskforce, under the auspices of the United Nations, co-chaired by Russia and the United States, and including members of government and opposition groups.

Zarif met top foreign officials on the margins of the Munich talks, including his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and Omani counterpart Yusuf bin Alawi, as well as UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.