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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

UN must arrange any Syria opposition meeting: Iran

Iran Press TV

Thu Dec 3, 2015 3:57PM

A senior Iranian diplomat has criticized Saudi Arabia's move to gather dozens of Syrian opposition figures in Riyadh, saying any such meeting should be arranged by the United Nations.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in Tehran on Thursday that Saudi Arabia first floated the idea of bringing together the Syrian opposition groups in the latest round of talks on the Syria crisis in Vienna.

"Naturally, any initiative regarding Syria's opposition, those who believe in [following] a political approach and not carrying arms and cooperating with terrorist groups, should be taken in coordination with [Staffan de Mistura,] the representative of the UN secretary general," Amir-Abdollahian said.

The Iranian diplomat had earlier warned against any meetings outside the provisions of the recent agreement reached in the Austrian capital on the crisis in Syria, adding that such moves will only derail the political attempts meant to solve the Syrian conflict.

Saudi Arabia has issued invitations to 65 Syrian opposition figures to attend a conference in Riyadh most probably next week. The so-called Syrian National Coalition has reportedly accepted an invitation to join the negotiations.

This comes as two rounds of international talks on the conflict in Syria were held in Vienna on October 30 and November 14.

At the end of the mid-November round of negotiations, the participants seeking to find a solution to the Syrian crisis agreed to meet again in "approximately one month" to review progress towards a ceasefire and the start of a political process in the violence-scarred country, according to a closing statement.

The participants in the second round of Vienna talks also mandated Jordan to draw up a list of terrorist groups operating in the Arab state.

Amir-Abdollahian reiterated that every measure in Syria must be taken in coordination of the UN and following consultation with Syria's government and its legitimate president, Bashar al-Assad.

He also said that the third round of Syria talks will be held within the next 10 to 15 days, noting that the upcoming negotiations will focus on reinforcing the fight against terrorism and pushing for a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that the upcoming round of the international talks would be held in New York but stopped short of announcing a specific date.

The foreign-backed militancy in Syria, which flared in March 2011, has left over 250,000 people dead.

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