Iran's FM says Syrian opposition's "illusions of power" stalling peace process
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned that negotiating based on the illusions of power by the foreign-backed Syrian opposition does not help achieve a peaceful resolution to the country’s crisis.
“I do not believe that negotiating based on illusions of the power of the opposition in Geneva, which hardly controls any ground inside Syria and may not even be welcomed into territories that are even controlled by the armed groups inside Syria - given the false promises and false hopes - helps achieve a peaceful resolution to this very tragic conflict,” Zarif said in an interview on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.
The Iranian foreign minister underscored the importance of setting realistic goals and allowing the Syrian people to determine their own future.
Zarif noted that Tehran will be happy if an agreement can be reached through Syria talks even without the presence of Iran at the talks.
The Geneva II negotiations on Syria ended Friday with no concrete results, but the UN said the sides to the conflict in Syria agreed to meet again on February 10.
The Syrian National Council (SNC) and its Western supporters insist that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must step down and a transitional government be formed in Syria.
However, Damascus rejects the demand, arguing that the SNC does not represent the Syrian opposition.
Iran has repeatedly stressed that the crisis should be resolved through an indigenous political solution and holding of free elections in the country.
The United Nations says more than four million Syrians will be forced out of their homes in 2014 by the escalating conflict in the country, which started in 2011.