People should be discussed in Syria talks, not Assad: President Rouhani

The Iranian president has said that all sides attending the talks need to make efforts to eradicate terrorism in Syria and make it possible for peace and stability to return to the region.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says discussions on the crisis in Syria should focus on the Syrian people and not President Bashar al-Assad.
“It’s not about a person. It’s about a nation; it’s about the Syrian nation. It’s about security and stability for Syria,” President Rouhani said in a Wednesday interview with TV channel France 2 and French radio Europe 1, according to excerpts broadcast by the two outlets.
His remarks came ahead of a new round of international talks on Syria in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on Saturday. The talks will bring together some 20 countries and international bodies to try to agree on a roadmap for peace.
The Iranian president also stressed that all sides attending the talks need to make efforts to eradicate terrorism in Syria and make it possible for peace and stability to return to the region.
He said certain people are trying to divert the debate on Syria away from the questions that matter.
Previous negotiations on the Syrian crisis were held in Vienna on October 30, bringing together top diplomats from 17 countries, including Iran, as well as envoys from the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU).
The participants agreed on the necessity of respect for Syria’s unity and sovereignty as well as the eradication of the extremist groups operating in the Arab country, stressing that the political process to end the bloodshed there “will be Syrian-led and Syrian-owned.”
Syria has suffered from over four years of foreign-backed militancy.
The Arab country is experiencing a relative ease from the turmoil as the government forces have made significant gains against Daesh (ISIS) and other terrorist groups under a six-week air cover provided by Russia.
The crisis in Syria, which flared in March 2011, has so far claimed the lives of over 250,000 people and displaced nearly half of the country’s population within or out of its borders.

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