Turkey, Iran call for ceasefire in Syria before Geneva talk
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gives a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu on November 27, 2013. [Atta Kenare/AFP]
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Iran and Turkey called on Wednesday for a ceasefire in Syria before the planned Geneva II peace conference scheduled for Jan. 22 takes place.
“All our efforts are to end the conflict and for a ceasefire if possible, even before the Geneva 2 conference takes place,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at a news conference in Tehran with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, according to Reuters.
All our efforts should be carried out to finish the conflict and reach a ceasefire even before Geneva 2,” Zarif said.
“Iran and Turkey have similar standpoints on several issues, including that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis,” he added.
Davutoglu also voiced support for efforts aimed at reaching a ceasefire in Syria.
“We should not wait until these two months (and let) the Syrian people suffer a worse situation. Even before Geneva 2, the ground should be prepared for reaching a ceasefire which will lead to success at Geneva 2,” AFP quoted him as saying.
Iran is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's embattled regime, while Turkey has strongly backed the rebels seeking to overthrow him.
The conference, sponsored by Russia and the United States, is scheduled to be held in the Swiss city on Jan. 22, but its participants are still undecided.
According to France and the United States, the second such gathering in Geneva since a peace conference held last year could lead to the establishment of a transitional government.
The Syrian opposition accuses Tehran of providing military support on the ground to Assad's army.
Iran denies this and says its aid to Damascus is only in the form of economic assistance while admitting to the presence of “advisers” inside Syria.
The Syrian conflict has claimed more than 120,000 lives in more than two years of warfare, according to rights groups.