Iran diplomat meets UN, Norwegian officials

January 16, 2022 - 18:14

TEHRAN – Ali Asghar Khaji, the Iranian foreign minister’s senior advisor for special political affairs, met on Saturday with UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen and Norway’s special envoy for Yemen Kjersti Tromsdal.

Khaji and Pedersen discussed the latest developments regarding the Syria crisis, the Syrian constitutional committee’s negotiations, the fight against sanctions and the dispatch of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. The Iranian foreign minister’s senior advisor said Tehran has always supported and will continue backing the UN’s efforts to preserve Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the world body’s encouragement of dialog between Syrian factions, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

Khaji pointed out the people and government of Syria have been standing up against Daesh and other terror groups since more than ten years ago and the country has now achieved relative stability while its ties with regional nations are improving. He added that it is necessary that the UN as well as other regional and international players to take account of the situation of the Syrian government and people and step up their efforts to lift the Syria sanctions, send aid to the country and help displaced Syrians return to Syria and help with the country’s reconstruction.

Pedersen, who is visiting Tehran at the head of a delegation, appreciated Iran’s efforts in cooperation with the UN and within the framework of the Astana peace talks to strengthen the negotiated settlement of the Syria crisis. Pedersen also thanked Tehran for supporting national dialog in Syria and stressed the need for the continuation of cooperation between Iran and the UN in this regard.

In the end the two sides underlined the need to increase the bilateral consultations in future.

Khaji also met with Norway’s special envoy for Yemen. In the meeting, the latest developments inside and outside Yemen were discussed and talks were also held over areas of mutual cooperation between Iran and Norway with regard to the Yemen crisis. 

The two sides also exchanged views over various issues and aspects of the Yemen crisis and explored ways of achieving peace and ending the crisis.

Khaji referred to the catastrophic situation of the resistant Yemeni people and the dire conditions caused by the war as well as the oppressive economic blockade on Yemen. He called for the UN and the international community to make more efforts to stop the war and lift the inhumane siege. Ms. Kjersti Tromsdal also spoke of Norway’s non-permanent membership at the UN Security Council, stressing that the Yemen crisis tops the agenda of the council.

She added that Norway will continue efforts to resolve the Yemen crisis peacefully and reaffirmed Oslo’s support for the efforts of the UN Secretary General’s special envoys for the Yemeni affairs.

As part of Iran’s continued international consultations to resolve the Yemen Crisis, Khaji has also held talks with the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg.

In this phone call, the two sides discussed the new developments regarding the Yemen crisis.

The Iranian foreign minister’s senior advisor noted that the final decision about Yemen’s fate lies with the country’s people, saying the removal of the oppressive siege of Yemen is the prelude to the political settlement of the crisis.

He also spoke of the UN’s role in the Yemen crisis. Khaji said the current mistrust is the missing link in the progress of talks, adding that restoring trust must be accompanied by practical measures especially in the field of humanitarian issues.

The UN chief’s special envoy for Yemen for his part said he is currently assessing different views. Grundberg added that he is seeking to take the concerns of different Yemeni factions into consideration in his future plans and to advance his short-term priorities at the same time within the framework of long-term objectives.

In late December, Khaji told TASS on the sidelines of an international meeting on Syria that Iran, Russia, and Turkey had agreed to hold a summit in Tehran in February or March 2022 depending on the coronavirus situation. The Iranian diplomatic official also said that the summit would be preceded by a meeting between the three countries’ top diplomats, slated for January or early February 2022.

In November, Khaji met with the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, in Tehran. Khaji and Grundberg discussed the different aspects of the Yemeni crisis and the latest developments in the country, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

In the meeting, the senior advisor to Iran’s foreign minister noted that the final decision as to the fate of Yemen lies with the Yemeni people. Khaji suggested that the first step toward resolving the Yemen crisis through political means is a lifting of the oppressive siege on the country.

Khaji also spoke about the UN’s role in Yemen. He said the current mistrust is the missing link of progress in negotiations aimed at ending the Yemen conflict. The senior advisor also underlined that rebuilding confidence must be accompanied by practical measures, particularly in humanitarian affairs.

Khaji reaffirmed Iran’s support for any fair effort by the UN to resolve the Yemen crisis. Meanwhile, the UN chief’s special envoy for Yemen reiterated that only the Yemeni people can decide their future. Grundberg however described the role of regional countries in supporting the peace process in Yemen as highly important. He added that backing by Iran in this regard is a key issue.

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