Iran hosted a consultative ministerial level meeting on Thursday to lead ‘serious and inclusive’ talks on the Syrian crisis and build support against forced regime change in Syria. The attendees also discussed how to deal with the escalating humanitarian crisis. The meeting has taken place just before the Summit of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) called by Saudi Arabia.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi stated that the Syrian conflict could only be resolved through serious talks between the opposition and the government. Moreover, Salehi warned of catastrophic consequences if Assad fell from power.
Delegations from 28 nations participated in the meeting. Among others, the countries in attendance included Russia, China, Iraq, Pakistan, Jordan, and India. These states, like Iran, have neither backed the Syrian opposition nor have demanded Assad to resign.
During the meeting, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar explained why Pakistan had abstained in the recent UN Security Council vote on Syria. She emphasized that principles of territorial integrity and national sovereignty should by respected in dealing with the Syrian crisis, as it will set a precedent for dealing with future conflicts. Pakistan has used the same argument in opposing drone strikes conducted by US in FATA. Additionally, she reiterated the need for finding a mutually acceptable solution to end the impending crisis, which poses serious implications for the entire Ummah.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State visited Turkey to speed up preparations for dealing with the Syrian challenge, and the possible use of chemical weapons by it. UK and US both have increased aid to the Syrian opposition