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News number: 9202245516

15:19 | 2013-05-29

Foriegn Policy

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Int'l Friends of Syria Conference Kicks Off Work in Tehran

TEHRAN (FNA)- The international 'Friends of Syria' conference started work here in Tehran on Wednesday afternoon to find a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis in the Muslim country.



The high-ranking officials and representatives of over 40 world countries and regional and international organizations are attending the one-day meeting which is being held with the motto of 'Political Solution, Regional Stability'.

Iran has invited different regional and international actors to the conference, the foreign ministry announced last week.

"Representatives of Russia and China will be present in the meeting and Tehran has invited different states, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which hold different positions (from that of Iran on Syria) to attend the conference," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Sunday.

Also, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Araqchi said in his weekly press conference in Tehran on Tuesday that Iran seeks to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria through cooperation with the countries and groups invited to the 'Friends of Syria' conference in Tehran on Wednesday.

"The main goal of the meeting is helping the idea of finding a political solution to (the crisis in) Syria," Araqchi said.

"All countries as well as all the regional and international organizations which can help to (the implementation of) this solution have been invited (to the conference)," he said, expressing the hope that discussions at the Tehran conference could help both the Tehran and the Geneva meetings move towards success.

Noting that Iran expects participation of officials and representatives from 40 countries in the Friends of Syria conference in Tehran, Araqchi announced that a number of "special guests" have also been invited to the meeting.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs and terrorists against Syrian forces and civilians being reported across the country.

The US and its western and regional allies have long sought to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ruling system. Media reports said that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups have received significantly more and better weapons, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.

The US daily, Washington Post, reported in May 2012 that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups battling Assad's government have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.

The newspaper, quoting opposition activists and US and foreign officials, reported that Obama administration officials emphasized the administration has expanded contacts with opposition military forces to provide the Persian Gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure.

Opposition activists who several months ago said the rebels were running out of ammunition said last May that the flow of weapons - most bought on the black market in neighboring countries or from elements of the Syrian military in the past - has significantly increased after a decision by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Persian Gulf states to provide millions of dollars in funding each month.