Iran FM: Syria crisis must be solved by Syrians

Published Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Wednesday the solution to the war in Syria lies "only in Syria and within the Syrian family," state news agency SANA reported.

Salehi, who was speaking at Damascus airport before a meeting that began later with President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials, said this should be done in "partnership with international and regional organizations."

Salehi, who called earlier this week for a simultaneous halt to fighting in the war-torn country, said "Syria is facing a problem, and we hope that this problem can be solved as soon as possible."

He said "Syria has very strong, solid ties with Iran, especially at the political level," and that he would discuss the conflict with Syrian officials.

"We will be consulting on all political aspects of this problem that Syria is facing," said Salehi.

Salehi, who held talks with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem before meeting Assad, called this week for a simultaneous halt in violence by both sides and insisted on a peaceful solution without foreign intervention.

He issued that call at a meeting in Cairo on Monday of the Syria "contact group," to which Iran, as well as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey belong.

A staunch ally of Damascus, Tehran is also proposing the contact group dispatch observers to Syria in an effort to quell the violence.

Iran has strenuously denied accusations it is providing military aid to Assad's regime.

In turn, it has accused the West and several regional countries -- notably Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- of providing military and financial assistance to Syrian rebels.

(AFP)

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