Iran says it will attend the four-country meeting in Cairo, along with officials from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, to examine ways of resolving the Syrian conflict.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast announced that deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has already left for Egypt to attend the meeting, reports Al-Alem, Iran’s Arabic-language broadcaster.
Mohammad Morsi, the new Egyptian president, first proposed such a contact group for the four countries in August, at the summit of Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Saudi Arabia.
Iran is the only country in the group that remains supportive of the Beshar Assad government, while the other three have been supporting the opposition groups.
Mehmanparast said: “Iran’s participation in this meeting is within the framework of solving the Syrian crisis and listening to the Egyptian proposal. Iran will use this opportunity to provide its views, in addition to those of the other countries, to this group.”
Iran has also proposed Iraq’s inclusion in the meeting, suggesting that it would give the group “better balance.”
Meanwhile, Lakhdar Brahimi, the new UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, arrived in Cairo yesterday, September 9, for talks with Egyptian and Arab League officials. He is scheduled to travel to Damascus following three days in Egypt.
Reuters has reported that the Iranian Foreign Ministry has said that Brahimi will travel to Iran following his visit to Damascus. However, Brahami’s spokesman in Geneva has not confirmed the trip to Tehran.
Since the start of the Syrian conflict last March, more than 20,000 people have been killed, according to UN reports.
The UN Security Council remains divided on the appropriate course of action with regard to the escalating conflict.