Tony Blair

Iran, Russia must be part of Syria peace process: Blair

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has emphasized the need for the participation of Iran and Russia in any peace process aimed at putting an end to the deadly crisis in Syria.

“I think now where we are, because of everything that has happened, you have to get an agreement in which the faction that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad represents, and …Russia, Iran, yes, they are going to have to be part of this process,” Blair said, addressing a Council on Foreign Relations forum in New York City on Friday.

“There is no other way out of that,” Blair stressed.

Blair, who served as prime minster of the UK from 1997 to 2007, made the remarks one day after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that a third round of talks on Syria crisis would be held in New York. However, Ban stopped short of announcing a specific date for the negotiations.

Two conferences were held on the Syria crisis in October and November in Vienna, Austria. The parties to the talk, including Iran, have been trying to work out a peace plan that would also include a ceasefire in the violence-torn Arab country.

Senior diplomats attend a conference on the Syria conflict in Vienna, Austria, November 14, 2015. ©AFP

At the end of the mid-November round of negotiations, the participants agreed to meet again in “approximately one month” to review progress towards a ceasefire and the start of a political process in the violence-scarred country, according to a closing statement.

However, they remained at loggerheads over the role that Syrian President Assad would play in Syria’s political process. While some countries, such as the US and its regional allies, want the removal of the Syrian leader as part of a solution to the issue, others, including Iran and Russia, say only the Syrian nation can have a say on the matter.

In 2012 and 2014, two peace conferences were held in the Swiss city of Geneva on ways to end the bloodshed in Syria. Iran was not present at the events, which both ended in failure.

The Syrian conflict, which started in March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and left over one million injured, according to the UN. The foreign-sponsored militancy has also displaced 7.6 million people.

By Press TV