Iran’s Jaberi Ansari, Syrian President Meet in Damascus

Hossein Jaberi Ansari, who is Iran’s top negotiator at Syria Peace Talks, has held talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during his official visit to Damascus.

During the Saturday meeting, Assad and Jaberi Ansari discussed the most recent political and field developments of the Arab country, particularly the situation of Afrin in northern Syria, and mutual cooperation between the two countries.

The meeting was the latest round of Iran-Syria talks over the Arab country’s National Dialogue Congress which is to be held in Russia’s Sochi.

The Iranian diplomat is also expected to sit for talks with other senior Syrian officials over the latest developments in the war-stricken country, a Farsi report by the Fars News Agency said.

The talks are being held just days ahead of a “Syrian National Dialogue Congress” which is slated to be held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 29 and 30.

Jaberi Ansari, who also serves as the Iranian Foreign Minister’s Special Assistant in Political Affairs, took part in a preliminary meeting in Sochi on January 20.

During the meeting attended by the Russian president’s special envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev as well as Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal, the officials of Iran, Russia and Turkey also known as guarantor states made the final arrangements for holding Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi.

Meanwhile, Syria’s foreign-backed main opposition group has refused to attend the Russia-brokered peace talks in Sochi.

Yahya al-Aridi, a spokesman for the opposition delegation at the Vienna talks on Syria, said Russia had not provided the necessary commitment and that the Sochi conference was aimed at undermining the UN-led efforts.

He noted that if the Russians want to bring peace to Syria they should put their efforts on Geneva talks. He also called on Moscow to exert pressure on Damascus to meet its commitments.

The 9th round of UN-mediated talks between Syria’s warring factions came to an end in Austria’s capital Vienna on Friday with no tangible progress. The main issues discussed included future governance, a new constitution and elections.

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