Iran foreign minister to meet Assad in Damascus: diplomat
DAMASCUS - Agence France-Presse
REUTERS PhotoThe foreign minister of Iran, a key ally of the Syrian regime, was in Damascus on Wednesday for a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad, a diplomatic source said.
Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived from Jordan, which along with Lebanon he had visited as part of a regional tour, and was to hold a media conference in the Syrian capital at 1430 GMT, the source said.
Zarif's talks with Assad come less than a week ahead of the so-called Geneva II peace conference, which is aimed at ending the conflict in Syria that has killed 130,000 people in nearly three years. The Iranian chief diplomat had said in Beirut on Monday that countries seeking to keep Iran away from the peace conference would "regret" his country's absence. US Secretary of State John Kerry has said Tehran could participate in talks only if it agrees to the principles set out at the creation of a transitional government.
During his visit to Lebanon on Monday, Zarif met President Michel Sleiman as well as Hassan Nasrallah, the chief of the Shiite movement Hezbollah, a Tehran ally that has sent men to fight alongside Syrian government forces.
The Islamic republic has been accused of giving military and financial aid to Assad's regime, allegations it strongly denies.