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For Syrians’ sake

Jan 11,2014 - Last updated at Jan 11,2014

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been quoted as saying that the projected Geneva II conference on Syria, due to take place on January 22, will fail if Iran does not attend.

The Iranian news agency ISNA quoted Rouhani as telling his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, in a recent telephone conversation that “any trans-regional meeting that is not attended by influential players will be unable to resolve the Syrian crisis”.

Putin seems to share this Iranian view on Tehran’s role in the Geneva II conference, as reflected in his response to Rouhani: “We believe any preconditions for Iran’s participation are useless and non-constructive.”

Putin was referring to the US request that Iran sign up to the consensus calling for a transitional government to replace the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Given the fact that Iran has been a faithful and unwavering supporter of the ruling regime in Damascus, supplying it with military, economic and diplomatic aid, it would seem that Iran’s role in any peace talks on Syria is implicit and, thus, would foreclose any other option.

In order for the Geneva II meeting to succeed, participants must be prepared to be open minded and arrive at some consensus on how best to end the deadly conflict in Syria.

This applies to all would-be participants on either sides of the fence.

One understands that the main antagonists will want to hold on to their maximalist positions, hoping to extract the most out of a deal, but stubborn intransigence would eventually defeat the very purpose of their participation.

Supporters of both Assad’s regime and opposition — whatever that is nowadays — have to understand that it is not their interests that have to be accommodated, but an agreement that finally puts an end to the carnage in Syria.

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