Annan says Iran should be part of Syria solution

 

International envoy Kofi Annan said today that Iran must be “part of the solution” to the bloody crisis in its close ally Syria, and that the Tehran has offered its support to end the conflict.

Annan is reaching out to Syria's allies to salvage his faltering peace plan for the 16-month-old crisis in Syria, which activists say has killed more than 17,000 people. The trip to Tehran comes a day after Annan agreed with Syrian President Bashar Assad on a new framework to stop the violence.

"My presence here proves that I believe Iran can play a positive role and should therefore be a part of the solution in the Syrian crisis," Annan told reporters in Tehran after meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.

He said that he has "received encouragement and cooperation" from the Iranian government, he said but did not specify what support Tehran has offered.

A staunch ally of Syria, Iran has provided Assad with military and political backing for years, and has kept up its strong support for the regime since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011.

Annan did not say what kind of involvement he saw for Iran in resolving the crisis, nor did Salehi spell out what Iran was willing to do to help tame the violence.

Anti-regime fighters have dismissed any role for Iran in a plan they and some others say has little hope of succeeding. The United States, meanwhile, has rejected Iranian participation in international meetings on the Syrian crisis.

Annan brokered a six-point peace plan earlier this year, but it has struggled to gain traction on the ground.

Government forces and rebels have widely disregarded a cease-fire that was to begin in April, and spreading violence has kept nearly 300 UN observers monitoring the truce stuck in their hotels in Syria.

After a two-hour meeting with Assad on Monday, Annan said the men had agreed on "an approach" to stop the violence, and that the diplomat would share it with the armed opposition.

He declined to provide more details on the new framework today in Tehran, saying only that "it relates to the efforts to end the violence.

"The details (have) to be worked out with the opposition. We have to discuss this with them. That's why I can't go into details but it relates to end the violence," he told reporters.

But the UN envoy stressed the urgency of finding a solution to the crisis.

"If we don't make a real effort to resolve this issue peacefully and it were to get out of hand and spread in the region, it can lead to consequences that none of us could imagine," he said.

Since Assad took power following the death of his father, Hafez, in 2000, he has deepened cultural, political and economic ties with Iran, making it Syria's strongest regional ally. Tehran, in turn, has boosted Assad's military, providing it with advanced communications technology and weapons, as well as sending elite military advisers.

All of this makes Iran unlikely to support change in Syria.

Salehi, Iran's foreign minister, said Tehran backs the rights of the Syrian people but opposes military intervention, and blamed the conflict's increasingly chaotic violence on the meddling of foreign powers.

"Unfortunately, the unwise interference of others has caused the situation in Syria to remain critical," he said. "The worsening of the situation should not happen. It would not benefit anyone in the region."

The Syrian conflict has spilled outside the border several times. Today, the Lebanese army said shells were fired into Lebanon from Syria during an overnight exchange of fire along the countries' border.

The Red Cross and Lebanon's NNA state news agency say a Lebanese and two Syrians died — one of them from a heart attack and two others when their motorcycle hit a car in the Wadi Khaled area, where the clashes took place today.

The Lebanese government decided at a Cabinet meeting Monday night to boost the army's presence along the volatile border, where shells fired from Syria have killed and wounded several Lebanese in the past few weeks.

Syria says the frontier is being used for smuggling weapons to rebels.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test