Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets his Indonesian counterpart Raden Mohammad Marty Muliana Natalegawa on the sidelines of the 68th annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 20, 2013.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Indonesian counterpart Raden Mohammad Marty Muliana Natalegawa have discussed the latest international and regional issues as well as bilateral ties.
The two senior officials met on the sidelines of the 68th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday, and explored avenues for the further expansion of political and economic relations and exchanged viewpoints on the world and regional developments, the Syrian crisis in particular.
Zarif and Natalegawa also held talks on the forthcoming Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) meeting in The Hague, which will deal with a Russian-US plan over Syria’s chemical weapons.
OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan said the meeting would be held on September 22 at 10:00 a.m. local time (0800 GMT).
The 41-member OPCW Executive Council is set to talk about the plan, which was agreed upon on September 14 after three days of talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons stockpile.
On September 18, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that his decision to destroy the chemical weapons arsenal was the result of Russia’s proposal and had nothing to do with the US threat of war against his country.
President Assad said, “Syria never obeyed any threat. We actually responded to the Russian initiative and to our needs and to our conviction.”
The war rhetoric against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused Assad’s government of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21.
A UN report released on September 16 concluded that sarin gas was used in the attack in which hundreds were allegedly killed. The UN inspectors, however, were not authorized to name a suspected culprit in the attack, and the evidence they presented has been subject to contradictory interpretations.
The United States and its allies have claimed that the findings by Swedish expert Ake Sellstrom and his team showed that the attack was perpetrated by the Syrian government.
Damascus and Moscow have strongly denied the accusation, saying the attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation.
Syria has been gripped by deadly turmoil since 2011. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in the violence.
Reports indicate that Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside the country.