Iran calls for ‘serious’ Syria talks
TEHRAN - ReutersIranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi called yesterday for “serious and inclusive” talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups, opening a meeting of friendly nations called by Tehran as it seeks to exert its influence over the conflict.
More than 25 nations were present at the conference but significantly none of them back the Syrian opposition or have called for President Bashar al-Assad to leave power. State television broadcast the opening statement of the talks, which Salehi said were attended by delegations from Russia, China, Iraq, Pakistan, Jordan, India, among others. Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Benin, Belarus, Cuba, Ecuador, Georgia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Oman, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan and Venezuela also attended the conference. A representative of the United Nations was also present.
In the speech broadcast live on Iranian television, Salehi said that Iran “rejects any foreign and military intervention in Syrian and backs and supports U.N. efforts to resolve the crisis.”