Russia Renews Call for Iran Role in Syria Talks

Russia Renews Call for Iran Role in Syria Talks
Russia Renews Call for Iran Role in Syria Talks

The permanent representative of Russia to the United Nations called for Iran's participation in the campaign to seek a political solution to the protracted conflict in Syria.

According to Itar-Tass, Vitaly Churkin said Staffan de Mistura, the special envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria, is trying to create a new group of "Syria's friends" to help tackle the country's problems. "We called on him to add Iran and Saudi Arabia to the list," IRNA reported on Friday.

The Russian diplomat said that the former group of "Syria's friends" that took part in the conference in Geneva in January did not include Iran and Saudi Arabia, the two key players in the strategic region.        

Referring to the influence Iran and Saudi Arabia exert in the war-ravaged Arab country, he said, “These two countries were not included in the negotiations meant to seek political solutions to the Syrian crisis for a variety of reasons.” He did not elaborate.

Churkin stated, “Russia is prepared to do its share in the efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had earlier stressed the necessity of Iran’s participation in the negotiations aimed at ending the almost three-year old crisis in Syria.

“Any negotiation to seek solutions to the crisis in Syria without Iran as a member would be incomplete and incomprehensive,” Lavrov told reporters on September 26.

He went on to say that measures should be taken to avoid the wrong decision made at the conference in Geneva for not inviting Iran for allegedly ideological reasons.

The Russian minister said, “In my opinion, refraining from inviting Iran to that conference made no contribution to the negotiations.”

He criticized the western countries for their stance toward the Syrian crisis, and described their opposition to Iran’s participation in the conference as a “grave mistake”.

The Geneva II Conference on Syria, a United Nations-backed international peace conference on the future of Syria with the aim of ending the Syrian Civil War, took place on 22 January 2014 in Montreux and on 23–31 January 2014 in Geneva.