Zarif: Iran would not welcome US in Astana meeting

MNA– Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has told reporters in Davos Iran actively opposes a US participation in Syrian peace talks in Astana, to be held January 23-24.Mr. Zarif is in Alpine village of Davos in Switzerland to participate in World Economic Forum 2017.

An unofficial session on Syrian crisis was held on Wednesday before which Mr. Zarif told reporters that Iran had generally avoided sessions where the US participated and Astana session would not be an exception; “Kazakhstan has the initiative to invite major players in Syria; the primary framework set in Moscow trilateral meeting introduced some sort of stability into the country and no less important ceasefire in Aleppo and the whole Syria,” Mr. Zarif added.

“We believe new parties to the Astana meeting would only complicate the situation, and thus prefer to build upon the trilateral meeting of Moscow, since new player would contribute little to the existing structures,” FM rationalized decision not to have the US in the Astana.

“My stay in Davos will be short, as I will be in Malaysia to attend a session held by Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to address situation in Myanmar’s Rohingya province where majority Muslim population had systematically been harassed; a meeting will also address along with Mrs. Mogherini and UN’s Staffan de Mistura the Syrian situation,” he told reporters.

“A second meeting will have Iran’s role in the region which will be held in the main hall, with other topics being terrorism and extremism; I predict that the hectic timetable will not allow any time to address JCPOA in Davos,’ Zarif detailed.

Zarif arrived in Zurich on Wednesday morning and participated in Syrian talks for his first event; the meeting anticipates Astana round of talks on January 23-24.