Iran deputy FM calls for holding democratic elections in Syria
Iran Press TV
Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:46PM
A senior Iranian official says holding democratic elections in Syria is an effective solution to the four-and-a-half year conflict in the Arab country.
"Holding elections needs preparations such as the end of war, control of borders" and differentiating opponent groups from terrorist groups, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Monday.
He added that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the "legal president" of Syria, stressing that a political process should not decide whether he can contest the upcoming elections.
He emphasized that it is up to Assad to decide if he would run in the elections, saying "it is the Syrian people that should make a decision whether to elect him or not."
Amir-Abdollahian, who attended the Saturday talks on Syria in the Austrian capital of Vienna as a member of the Iranian delegation, described the meeting as positive but emphasized that the participants have still different views on the issue.
The latest round of the Syria talks held on November 14 was a continuation of October 30 negotiations in the Austrian capital, which had been attended by representatives from 17 countries, including Iran, as well as envoys from the United Nations and the European Union.
The second round of the Vienna talks was also joined by senior representatives from 17 countries, the UN, the EU and the Arab League.
At the end of the second round of talks, the UN released a joint statement on behalf of the participants, saying Syria should have a transitional government in six months and hold elections in 18 months.
Amir-Abdollahian further said that Iran has repeatedly announced that the Vienna talks were not supposed to make a decision about Syria's fate on behalf of the Syrian nation.
The meeting should have helped countries supporting terrorists modify their approach, the Iranian official pointed out.
He emphasized that countries need to have a firm determination to put an end to terrorists' crossing into Syria, urging a serious global combat against terrorist groups.
Since March 2011, Syria has been beset by foreign-backed militancy, which has so far claimed the lives of over 250,000 people and displaced millions of others.
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