No Place for Terrorist Groups in Astana Peace Talks

No Place for Terrorist Groups  in Astana Peace Talks No Place for Terrorist Groups  in Astana Peace Talks

Ali Akbar Velayati, a foreign policy advisor to the Leader of Islamic Revolution, underlined the importance of talks between the Syrian government and its allies before the start of the planned Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.

Velayati stressed that terrorist groups are not allowed to take part in the negotiations on the future of the Arab country, Fars News Agency reported.

"Dissidents who have been admitted to the negotiations can participate in the talks with the Syrian government. Of course, Daesh [an Arabic acronym for the self-styled Islamic State militant group] and al-Nusra Front are considered terrorist groups and in no way entitled to take part in these negotiations," Velayati told reporters on the sidelines of his meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem in Tehran on Sunday.

He said the negotiations scheduled for mid-January will be held between the Syrian government and opposition groups that have agreed to give up the fight to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

"The Syrian government will naturally have the necessary consultations with its strategic friends, meaning Iran and Russia, before these talks," he said.

Velayati's remarks came after Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani underlined that the war against IS and al-Nusra Front (recently renamed to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) will continue in Syria, stressing that any talks that undermine the sovereignty of the legitimate Syrian government are doomed.

"Any political path and talks that weaken the sovereignty of the legal government over the entire territories of Syria or aim to give control over a part of the Syrian territories to terrorist groups and foreign military occupation are against people's interests, a threat to regional countries and doomed," Shamkhani said on Saturday.

Describing last month's liberation of Aleppo from armed militants as a turning point in Syria's political-military developments and the power equations in the region, he said, "War against IS and al-Nusra Front terrorists in Syria will continue and armed groups, which are not aligned with terrorists, should seize the opportunity of the ceasefire [which is in place since Friday] and return to the negotiation table for talks with the Syrian government."

Shamkhani stressed that the only path that can restore peace and security to Syria is "an unrelenting fight" against terrorism and focus on Syrian-Syrian talks to reach a national agreement to hold comprehensive elections.


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