Middle East

Iran offers to host Syrian government and opposition meeting

TEHRAN: Iran, the main regional ally of Syria, said on Sunday it is ready to host a meeting between Damascus and its opponents aimed at solving the country's conflict.

"Iran is ready to host the Syrian opposition for dialogue with the Syrian government," Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told Arabic-language Al-Alam television.

"We believe that the Syrian issue should have a Syrian solution," he said, reiterating Iran's stance.

Tehran has repeatedly offered to help resolve the crisis, but this has been rejected by Syria's opposition and Western and Arab states which accuse it of militarily aiding President Bashar Assad's regime to suppress a rebellion.

In return, Iran has accused some Western and Arab countries of arming Syrian rebels.

U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan and Russia and China are in favor of Iran's participation in the search for a solution to the crisis.

More than 17,000 people have reportedly been killed in Syria since an uprising erupted since March 2011.





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