Iran’s Ambassador to Syria Mohammad-Reza Raouf-Sheibani says Tehran is ready to host negotiations between the representatives of the Syrian government and foreign-backed opposition. Raouf-Sheibani said on Tuesday that Tehran is ready to host the talks if Syria’s national reconciliation minister, Ali Haidar, and the leader of the foreign-backed Syrian opposition coalition Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib are ready to enter negotiations. The Iranian envoy reiterated Iran’s stance that the crisis in Syria should be resolved through diplomatic means and national dialogue. On January 30, Khatib announced that he was ready for “direct discussions” with representatives of the Syrian government in Cairo, Tunis or Istanbul. On February 11, Haidar said the Syrian government was ready to send a minister abroad for talks with Khatib. “I am willing to meet Mr. Khatib in any foreign city where I can go in order to discuss preparations for a national dialogue,” the Syrian official said.
Iran hosted a two-day meeting between the representatives of the Syrian government and opposition groups in November 2012, with participants unanimously opposing foreign interference and calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Arab country.Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil that Damascus says is being orchestrated from outside the country. In December 2012, the Islamic Republic released the details of a plan that urged talks between the Syrian government and representatives of all Syrian groups regardless of their political and social tendencies in order to form a national reconciliation committee. The plan also calls for an immediate end to all violent and military acts in Syria under the supervision of the United Nations, an end to all economic sanctions imposed against the country, and the return of displaced civilians to their homes. TE/HSN/HJL