Middle East

France to host three-way push for Syria peace forum

United Arab Emirates' (UAE) Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan shakes hands with France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius during the opening of the new French embassy in Abu Dhabi May 25, 2013. (WAM)/Handout via Reuters

ABU DHABI: France is to host a three-way push to hold an international peace conference aimed at ending Syria's conflict, but it has reservations over a role for Iran, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Sunday.

"On Monday night, I will receive my American and Russian counterparts and we will discuss" preparations for next month's planned conference, he told reporters in Abu Dhabi during a brief visit.

The meeting between Fabius, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is to be held in Paris.

"I hope we will find elements for this conference to take place because the Syrian tragedy is causing deaths, dozens of deaths, each day, and we must find a political solution," said the French minister.

"There are also quite a few issues to resolve," such as the agenda and the participants, he said, reiterating Paris's reservations over the involvement of the Syrian regime's ally, Iran.

"Given that Iran does not want a political solution, bringing along that country... risks preventing a political solution rather than favouring one," he charged.

"We see, unfortunately, that day after day Iran's forces are strongly engaged on the side of (Syrian President) Bashar-Assad, and this is certainly not the way to advance peace," he said.





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