Iran to unveil Syria proposal at Non-Aligned summit
TEHRAN - Agence France Presse
Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs Ali Akbar Salehi. AFP PhotoIran will submit a proposal for ending the conflict in its close ally Syria to a Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran next week, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in comments published on Friday.
Iran "has a proposal regarding Syria which it will discuss with countries taking part in the NAM summit," the Fars and Mehr news agencies quoted Salehi as saying in comments to state television. "This proposal is an acceptable and rational one, and includes all parties, and opposing it will be very difficult," the minister was quoted as saying.
Iran has repeatedly offered its offices in seeking an end to 17-month conflict despite charges by Arab and Western governments and the Syrian opposition that its staunch support for the government of President Bashar al-Assad makes it complicit in the bloodshed.
Salehi renewed an Iranian offer to host talks between the Syrian government and the opposition "after the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (on August 30-31) and the General Assembly of the United Nations" in September.
He said a "significant part of the Syrian opposition" was ready to participate but did not specify which opposition groups.
Tehran first made the offer in July but it has so far found no public takers from the Syrian opposition.
Tehran also hosted a conference on the Syria crisis earlier this month, which was attended by 29 nations, including China and Russia, but which excluded Western countries and opposition allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Washington said the August 9 conference lacked any credibility. "There is vast evidence that demonstrates that Iran has been engaged in an effort to prop up Assad as he brutally murders his own people," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Salehi expressed renewed backing for Damascus in his comments published on Friday.
He said that Tehran's more than three-decade alliance with Damascus was a "fundamental" of Iranian foreign policy as Assad's regime was "an essential element of resistance against Israel." "We are not ready to abandon this policy," he said.