Iran supports Russian effort for Syria, says Muallem

8th December 2014, Comments 0 comments

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Monday during a visit to Tehran that Iran is backing the latest Russian effort to end his country's more than three-year conflict.

A delegation of Syrian dissidents tolerated by President Bashar al-Assad's regime will travel to Moscow this week for meetings, days after government members discussed a new peace process there.

A meeting with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov will include talks on a political solution and the role of Syria-based opponents.

Muallem, after meeting his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, said at a joint news conference: "I heard Mr Zarif support this plan. There is no doubt Iran will help achieve a political solution."

A plan by UN envoy to Syria Staffan De Mistura to "freeze" fighting in local areas, allowing aid deliveries and to lay the groundwork for peace talks, will also be discussed in Russia.

Iran is Assad's main regional ally, and Tehran has acknowledged sending military advisers to assist his forces in their fight against rebels and jihadist militants.

Assad last month called De Mistura's plan "worthy of study".

In Tehran, Zarif did not specifically refer to the Russian initiative, but said: "We have said from the beginning that we should find a political solution without destructive foreign intervention.

"All Syrian parties must be present. I hope these efforts bear fruit."

In Tehran, Muallem also referred to the battle against the militant Islamic State (IS) group, noting "there are ongoing contacts" between Iran, Iraq and Syria "because we all struggle against terrorism".

Iran has helped Iraq politically and militarily in its fight against IS extremists who currently control swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Tehran is not part of the US-led international coalition carrying out air strikes against IS in both countries.

© 2014 AFP

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