Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Iran must be among the participants in an international conference on Syria that Moscow has proposed.
"The number of participants should be limited but it must be representative and include all the key external players. We believe that these are primarily the five permanent UN Security Council members, all of Syria's neighbors, which are Iraq, Turkey, and Lebanon, and also Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Arab League and Iran," Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying at a press conference in Moscow on Friday.
"We deem the invitation of all potential participants that I have just mentioned, including Iran, to be absolutely essential, if we all agree to be guided by reasons of business and interests of mobilization of all opportunities that the international community has to stop violence and put the situation onto a peaceful track rather than to be guided by ideological preferences," he said.
Earlier this week, Lavrov discussed regional developments -- particularly Moscow’s proposal for convening an international conference on Syria -- with Iranian officials in Tehran.
During a press briefing on June 9, the Russian foreign minister proposed that an international conference on Syria be held with the aim of supporting the peace plan brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
“We want this event to be effective. In order to be effective, all the sides with any influence on the sides in the Syrian conflicts should be represented there. Iran is one such country,” he pointed out.
Lavrov also said that although the truce in Syria has been shaky, there is “no alternative” to the Annan plan and suggested that the plan be made more "detailed" and "specified."
Annan’s six-point plan, effective from mid-April, calls for the establishment of a ceasefire as well as political dialogue.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011.
While the West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of the killings, Damascus blames ''outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups'' for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.