Iran hosts meeting on Syrian conflict

 

Tehran

Under the motto "No to violence, yes to democracy," an estimated 200 Syrian and regional politicians gathered in Tehran on Sunday to discuss a possible end to the violence that has engulfed Syria since March 2011.

"We believe reforms in Syria should lead to a free, fair and transparent election with the cooperation of all political parties," Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said in opening remarks at the one-day Syrian National Dialogue conference.

Iran continues to back Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime despite the bloodshed, which has killed more than 40,000 people since the fighting began, making Western and many Arab governments doubt the Islamic republic's sincerity in trying to end the violence. But the presence of delegations from dozens of countries, including representatives of Russia and China, two key Syrian allies, indicate that Iran is seen as able to wield influence in the matter.

Leaders in Tehran have long contended that they support a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict and can play a positive role in engineering a lasting cease-fire there.

Salehi warned that arming the opposition in Syria would "spread insecurity, the risk of terrorism and increase organized violence" and would heighten the risk "of bloodshed spilling into other countries."

Meanwhile, the newly formed National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and its head, Mouaz al-Khatib, continue to gain supporters since forming at a meeting last week in Doha, Qatar.

France and Turkey have recognized the coalition as a legitimate government in exile, and Britain is considering whether to formally recognize the group.

The Tehran conference, viewed by some as a response to the Doha gathering, included representatives from across Syria's ethnic and religious spectrum, but none identified themselves as specifically in opposition to the Syrian regime. Among them were Assad loyalists and government officials, including National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar and Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil.

"Ending clashes, preventing the shipment of weapons to Syria, avoiding interference by foreign countries, resuming national dialogue, forming a committee to meet the expectations of the Syrian people by parliamentary and presidential elections and changes in the constitution are all aspects of Iran's political plan in Syria," said Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast.

Noting the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip, many participants spoke about the urgent need for regional stability.

Former Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim al-Jafari called for a Syrian solution rather than resorting to foreign intervention, saying, "We all must respect people's dignity in Syria and prevent war and violence in Syria from spreading to the whole region."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
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: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
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