Al-Moallem and Salehi Stress on Political Solution to Crisis in Syria

       Damascus, 21 Rabiul Akhir 1434/3 March 2013 (MINA) – Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Walid al-Moallem, on Saturday stressed that the Syrians will not tolerate impingement on the national sovereignty or accept dictates as they cling to political independence and reject violence and foreign interference.

        “We, in Syria, are facing a crisis in which most of the world is taking part,” said al-Moallem in a press conference following talks with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi in Tehran, according to report monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Sunday.

        He noted that “the dialogue train was put on track, for we believe that the solution to the crisis is political through comprehensive dialogue and poll of the Syrian public.”

         “Every time the train of dialogue moves on, violence on the ground escalates,” al-Moallem regretted, saying that “therefore, we, in coordination and consultation with our friends found that violence has to stop for the political dialogue to succeed, and to end violence, its sources must be dried up.”

         Al-Moallem stressed that the joint efforts to end violence start with putting pressure on Turkey, Qatar and others who are backing terrorism and funding and arming the terrorist groups which are shedding the Syrians’ blood and destroying their economic and cultural infrastructure.

          “Syria is steadfast thanks to the steadfastness of our people, the determination of its leadership and the support of friends and brothers,” al-Moallem said.

           The Foreign Minister wondered at the US announcement to provide USD 60 million in what it claims to be a “non-lethal” aid to opposition groups which are killing the Syrian people.

           “This is double-standard policy. Who wants political solution in Syria does not punish the Syrian people and does not fund a bunch of them with “non-lethal” aid… we support every sincere effort aimed at a political solution, let it be from the United States or another country… we know that the United States is important and has a role if it wanted, it actually can halt violence and bloodshed in Syria.”

           He also found it strange how the Emir of recently complained that the UN Security Council has not yet taken a decision to strike Syria like what happened in Libya, and how Turkey still pressures some opposition figures not to go for dialogue.

          Al-Moallem called on the Syrians to come to dialogue, adding ”We say to all Syrians: Enough with bloodshed…Let’s join hands in building the future of the democratic pluralistic Syria.”

          “Even those who took up arms can play a role in building Syria’s future, as violence and killing don’t make reform. Reform is to be made through national dialogue,” al-Moallem added.

          The Foreign Minister described his talks with his Iranian counterpart as “fruitful” and said they shared identical viewpoints, noting that the first reason of his visit to Iran was to offer the Syrian leadership and people’s thanks to the government and people of Iran.

          He indicated that President Bashar al-Assad had announced a political program for solving the crisis and a government committee was set up for its implementation, noting that “22 meetings with the political parties inside have so far been held and the legal procedures were undertaken, not to mention the needed assurances for those willing to take part in dialogue inside or outside the country.”

          For his part, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, considered the calls voiced by some non-Syrians on the Syrian government to step down as “interference in the Syrian affairs,” adding that “no country or official has the right to decide on behalf of the Syrian government and people.”

          He pointed out that one of the reasons behind the spread of the crisis in Syria is the support of some other countries to the armed men, most of them are foreign mercenaries committing crimes in Syria.

          “The solution to the crisis in Syria can’t be a military one…but rather through dialogue between the opposition and the Syrian government,” said Salehi.

          “We hope that the international institutions and influential regional and international countries stand together to halt the violence as soon as possible and stop conflicting views we are now witnessing,” he added.

          Salehi added that those who insist to take up arms are responsible for bloodshed and crimes in Syria, calling on the influential countries to work together to halt violence in Syria and put their differences aside.

          He pointed out that the meeting with Syrian counterpart was “good” as in included a review of the meetings held with other officials from Arab and European countries and with the Syrian opposition abroad.

          The Iranian Foreign Minister indicated that the Syrian government has declared readiness for dialogue, holding those who are hindering dialogue responsible for bloodshed in Syria; “therefore, there are no pretexts for the others.”

          He added that “Minister al- Moallem announced in Russia that he is ready for dialogue even with the armed opposition… he did not classify the opposition, and this is a remarkable step made by the Syrian government and a good proposal regarding the method of getting out of the crisis.”

        On stopping support to armed men in Syria and who would pressure Qatar, Turkey and other Arab countries to stop bloodshed in Syria to push political solution, Minister al-Moallem said, “We address everyone who wants a political solution in Syria to…exert pressure on those,” adding that this is in line with the U.N. Security Council resolution on combating terrorism.

        He reiterated that the Syrian Arab army is performing its national role in defending Syrian citizens and their properties according to the Constitution and law,’ adding ”We will push ahead with combating terrorism.”

        “We will not tolerate impingement on the national sovereignty or accept dictates as we cling to the independence of our political decision and reject violence and foreign interference in our affairs,” al-Moallem affirmed.

        ”We believe that our people are to decide their own future and leadership through…the ballot box’…We won’t accept to be mere pawns as the Syrian people are able to solve their crisis…We are looking forward to building modern Syria,” he added.

         Al-Moallem assured that the Russian stand on Syria remains unchanged as it is based on the international law and the UN charter, especially rejecting foreign interference and the use of force to promote political agendas.

         ”The friends in Russia are exerting efforts in the international arena to reach a political solution to the crisis in Syria,” al-Moallem said.

          Salehi , in turn, reiterated that “The Syrians are the ones who decide for whom they will vote in the upcoming elections. They should be free to choose their president through law, and they will take part in the upcoming elections and until that time President Bashar al-Assad will remain president of the republic and this is the official opinion of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” (T/P08/E1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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