Russia says the next international meeting aimed at finding a solution for the Syrian conflict should include Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Ria Novosti quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as saying that Russia believes Saudi Arabia and Iran have influence over the Syrian situation, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is another group that must be enlisted to unite the neighbouring countries.
Lavrov maintained that the U.S. resistance to Iran’s inclusion in the peace efforts is “unconstructive and blocks all progress.”
The first meeting to review the Syrian conflict was held on June 30 with the UN special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. In addition to the permanent members of the UN Security Council (Russia, the United States, Britain, China and France), there were also representatives from the Arab League, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar.
Despite the U.S. insistence on excluding Iran from the meeting, Annan has explicitly declared that Iran needs to join the efforts to end the Syrian crisis, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people.
Iran has announced that it is prepared to play a role in Annan’s peace plan.
Annan has called for an immediate end to hostilities, the opening of a dialogue between the two sides, the recall of state forces deployed in various regions, the delivery of humanitarian aid and the release of prisoners.