Expert: Without Iran, Geneva 2 will be defeated

Expert: Without Iran, Geneva 2 will be defeated

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 8

By Umid Niayesh, Tamkin Jafarov - Trend:

Without Iran's presence, the Geneva 2 peace conference will be as defeated as Geneva 1, Iranian expert on international issues and Arabic countries, Hassan Hanizadeh told Trend on Jan. 8.

The Geneva 2 peace conference is a proposed UN backed international conference to take place in Geneva with the aim of ending the Syrian civil war and is scheduled to be held on Jan. 22.

Washington has opposed Iran's attendance at Geneva 2 because it has not signed up to a core element of the so-called 'Geneva 1' framework. This says a future Syrian government must be formed by the 'mutual consent' of the authorities and the opposition, a stance the United States says means Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot stay in power.

The US and Saudi Arabia are trying to limit the presence of Assad`s allies at the conference Hanizadeh said, adding they want to change the conference balance in favour of Syrian opposition groups.

While Iran is a major player in regional developments and Assad`s main backer, Tehran's participation at the peace talks would likely guarantee any output agreement reached in Geneva, he added.

Hanizadeh underlined that without Iran's presence, the Geneva 2 conference will not reach any acceptable result.

"Assad`s regime is one part of the Syrian conflict which should implement a possible agreement. Without Iran's presence, the Syrian regime will ignore any agreement," the expert explained.

Commenting on Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad`s visit to Tehran on Jan.7, he said that Miqdad has talked and coordinated with Iranian officials on the issue.

Hanizadeh went on to say that, there are some rumours which claim that UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi will invite Iran to the Geneva 2 at the last minute. Western countries are also interested that Iran should participate at the conference he said, remarking that earlier Iran submitted a proposal for resolving the crisis which the Syrian unarmed political opposition were in agreement.

Commenting on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry`s statements about Iran`s presence being on the side-lines of the Geneva 2 talks, he said that Iran will not accept any preconditions for participating at the conference.

Kerry said on Jan. 5 that Iran could still play a helpful role in finding a solution to the conflict in Syria even on a limited scale at the peace talks in Geneva.

Kerry underlined it would be difficult to see how Iran which did not support last year's international accord on Syria, could be a 'ministerial partner' in the Geneva 2 talks.

Iran is influential on the Syrian crisis, Hanizadeh said, adding that the country only accepts its presence at the centre of developments, not on the side-lines.

The Syrian conflict has lasted more than two years and killed more than 100,000 people as well as uprooting millions more.

Edited by S.M.

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