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                                        Volume. 12137

Iran welcomes Syrian opposition leader’s readiness to hold talks with govt.
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c_330_235_16777215_0_http___www.tehrantimes.com_images_stories_famous_02_sk1.jpgTEHRAN – Iran has welcomed the Syrian opposition leader’s announcement of readiness to hold talks with the government, describing it as a positive step toward the resolution of a crisis that has gripped the Arab country for over 21 months. 
 
During a meeting with Syrian National Coalition leader Moaz al-Khatib in Munich late on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi described the announcement as a “step forward”, emphasizing that all the parties involved should make efforts to help improve the situation.   
 
According to AFP, the Syrian opposition leader said on January 30, “I announce I am ready for direct discussions with representatives of the Syrian regime in Cairo, Tunis, or Istanbul.”  
 
However, Khatib said that the statement expressed his own opinion only. 
 
According to Reuters, the opposition coalition’s 12-member politburo then told Khatib not to respond to any proposals made in Munich without consulting with them first. 
 
Assad proposed earlier this month a national dialogue, but made it clear this would apply only to groups not linked to the armed insurgency, according to AFP.  
 
Salehi, who had traveled to Munich to attend a security conference, told Khatib that a realistic and practical attitude should be adopted toward the situation on the ground, adding that the Islamic Republic wanted a resolution of the problems facing the Syrian people and an end to the bloodshed and killings in Syria.   
 
He also briefed Khatib on Iran’s six-point plan which calls for a halt to all acts of violence in Syria, the distribution of humanitarian aid among the people affected by the crisis which requires the lifting of economic sanctions against the country, national dialogue followed by the establishment of a transitional government agreed by all sides and free parliamentary and presidential elections, release of those arrested for peaceful political activities and a fair trial of criminals, an end to the campaign of misinformation against Syria, and the establishment of a committee to assess the damage to the country’s infrastructure.
 
According to an Iranian Foreign Ministry press release, the Syrian opposition leader said that despite certain political disagreements, “we are all religious brothers.” 
 
After a 45-minute meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, Khatib told Reuters, “We agreed we have to find a solution to end the suffering of the Syrian people.” 
 
Salehi meets UN-Arab League envoy for Syria 
 
The Iranian Foreign Minister also held a meeting with the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, in Munich on Saturday, in which he said that the crisis can only be resolved through national dialogue. 
 
During the meeting, Brahimi briefed Salehi on his latest efforts to help defuse the crisis. 
 
In addition, the Iranian foreign minister discussed the Syrian crisis with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati on the same day. 
 
He also met with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and exchanged views with them on the situation in Syria. 
 
The German and Italian foreign ministers emphasized the role of Iran in resolving the crisis. 
 
EP/AM

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