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China sees Iran role in Syria peace talks
October 11, 2013, 9:12 am

[Getty Images]

Russian and American top diplomats Sergei Lavrov (right) and John Kerry (left) have mapped out the necessary steps for the conference to be held next month [Getty Images]

China has backed Iran’s participation in the Syria peace talks to be held in November this year in Geneva.

“Proper resolution of the Syria issue will be impossible without the participation and support of regional countries, especially countries with leverage over concerned parties in Syria,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Thursday.

The statement came in the backdrop of negotiations for the final list of participants in the Geneva II peace talks.

Earlier this week, US State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the US might agree with Iran’s participation in the talks over Syria if Tehran backs the “Geneva I Communique” which called for a transitional government in Syria.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Tuesday that Iran will not accept any pre-conditions for attending peace talks on Syria.

“If our presence will help find a solution, setting pre-conditions for inviting Iran to the talks is not acceptable, and we do not accept any conditions,” Afkham was quoted as saying by Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

Afkham said excluding Iran from the talks would “deprive the negotiations of Tehran’s constructive role”.

China on Thursday reasserted its position that a political resolution is the only way out for the Syrian crisis.

“China hopes parties concerned will seize opportunities, make joint efforts to convene the Geneva II talks and start the dialogue and political resolution process at an early date, in a bid to properly resolve the Syria issue”, the foreign ministry spokesperson said.

The US and its Western allies have accused Iran of supporting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war and said Iran is part of the problem.

Geneva II talks were suggested by Russia and the US in an attempt to develop mechanisms for implementing earlier agreements.

Russian and American top diplomats Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry have mapped the necessary steps for the conference to be held next month.

“We support holding this conference in mid-November,” Lavrov said in Bali recently.

“Today we have agreed on measures to ensure that both the [Syrian] government and the opposition attend the conference,” he added.

The United States had threatened punitive strikes against Damascus after allegations of a chemical weapon attack surfaced in August.

However, over fifty per cent of the people surveyed in an international Reuters/Ipsos poll this week said they are opposed to foreign military action against President Assad and more are against their own countries intervening in the conflict.

The United Nations says more than 100,000 Syrians have been killed and millions displaced since the turmoil began in 2011.

Source: Agencies