Zarif, UN envoy discuss Syrian crisis

August 28, 2017 - 20:13

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura met in Tehran on Monday to discuss political initiatives to settle the protracted Syrian conflict.

The two senior diplomats also exchanged views about the latest political developments in Syria.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari also held separate talks with the UN special envoy on Syria.

After his meeting with Jaberi Ansari, de Mistura told reporters that many political and military developments have taken place in Syria.

De Mistura who arrived in Tehran late on Sunday also attached great importance to the Astana talks in settling the conflict in Syria which has been raging on for more than six years.

Iran, Turkey and Russia brokered the Astana talks on Syria and the first three rounds of the talks were held on January 23-24, February 15-16 and March 14-15. The fourth round of the talks was held in May during which a document on creating de-escalation zones in Syria was signed. The fifth round of talks was held on July 4-5. 

The 6th round of Astana talks is scheduled to be held in mid-September.

De Mistura also said that the Syrian crisis will be discussed in annual meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York which will start on September 12.

In a significant policy shift on the civil war in Syria, Britain and its Western allies have finally dropped their long-standing demand that Syrian President Assad must step down — and may even accept elections in which he is allowed to stand again, The Times reported on Saturday.

The British newspaper said the Syrian opposition leaders were told last week in Riyadh that they now had little choice but to accept that Assad was in Damascus to stay.

According to The Times, Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, hinted at the change in an interview on Radio 4’s Today program.

“We used to say he has to go as precondition. Now we are saying that he should go but as part of a transition. It is always open to him to stand in a democratic election,” the British foreign secretary said.


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