0600 GMT January 22, 2018
In a meeting with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reaffirmed Tehran’s support for the peaceful resolution of ongoing crisis in Syria.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s policy on Syria is based on clear, logical and firm principles,” Zarif said, Tasnim News Agency reported.
“We believe the Syrian people themselves must decide their future and fate,” the Iranian minister stressed, adding that other countries can at most play the role of a facilitator in the process of resolving the crisis in Syria.
On October 30, several countries including Russia, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates attended a fresh round of talks in Vienna aimed at finding ways to end the crisis in the Arab country.
In a joint statement after the Friday talks, Iran, the US, Russia and 14 other powers called for a nationwide truce in Syria.
The participants also called for a renewal of stalled UN-brokered talks between the government and opposition groups.
Zarif hailed the Vienna talks as “a good move toward a political solution”, adding that Iran clearly voiced its positions on Syria in the conference.
Mekdad appreciated Tehran’s support for the Syrian people and government, saying Iran’s measures will be recorded in history.
“We are grateful for your previous and recent efforts in helping resolve the crisis,” he said, adding that the Syrian people will always remember Iran’s positive role.
Also on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Russia's traditional stance that the fate of President Assad must be decided by "the Syrian people," AFP reported.
Lavrov made the remarks after a meeting with the UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura in Moscow.
De Mistura said that the Syrian government and opposition should start talking to each other, as global powers seek to keep up a push aimed at ending the war.
He added the United Nations was ready to bring together representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition for talks in Geneva.
"When? As soon as possible," said the envoy who returned from Damascus and was planning to travel to Washington next.
"We'll ask the representatives of the government, and the opposition."
Lavrov said the "entire spectrum" of Syrian society should be represented at the negotiating table.
Russia said earlier that it could host a meeting between the Syrian government and unspecified members of the opposition next week in Moscow.