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Iran backs UN efforts to protect Syria sovereignty, promote peace, stability: Diplomat

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ali Asghar Khaji (R), Iranian Foreign Minister's senior aide for special political affairs, and Geir Pedersen, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, meet in Tehran on January 15, 2022. (Photo by IRNA)

A senior Iranian diplomat says the Islamic Republic has always supported and will continue to back all efforts by the United Nations to strengthen Syria's national sovereignty and territorial integrity, encourage intra-Syrian talks and promote peace and stability in the war-ravaged Arab country.

In a Saturday meeting in Tehran, Ali Asghar Khaji, a senior advisor on political affairs to the Iranian foreign minister, and Geir Pedersen, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, exchanged views about the latest developments pertaining to the ongoing crisis in the Arab state, discussions about the Constitutional Committee and ways to counter sanctions and dispatch humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.

"The Syrian government and nation have stood up to Daesh and other terrorist groups for more than 10 years and have now achieved relative stability, and the country's relations with regional states are increasing," Khaji said.

The Iranian diplomat called on the United Nations and other regional and international bodies to "pay attention to the current situation of the Syrian government and people and to step up their efforts to remove sanctions, provide aid to the [Syrian] people, [help] repatriation of the refugees and begin rebuilding the country."

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since 2011, with the US and its Western and regional allies fixated on overthrowing the government of Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, Iran has been offering military advisory support to Syria at the request of the Damascus government, enabling its army to speed up its gains on various fronts against terrorist groups. The assistance helped reverse anti-Syria terrorists’ advances and enabled the country to defeat the Daesh group in late 2017.

Bilateral economic relations have also expanded as a result.

In a meeting between Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development Rostam Qassemi and President Assad in Damascus on Wednesday, the two sides discussed the "expansion of the countries' relations, especially on the economic level, the [available] approaches to expansion of cooperation between the countries' public and private sectors, and encouragement of joint investment."

The UN envoy, who is in Tehran at the head of a delegation, hailed Iran's efforts to promote cooperation with the UN in the Astana format negotiations to resolve the crisis in Syria through diplomatic channels and called for the continuation of such interaction.

Khaji and Pedersen also stressed the importance of holding more consultations in the future.

UN must end war, blockade in Yemen: Iran diplomat

Also in a meeting with Norway's special envoy for Yemen Kjersti Tromsdal in Tehran, Khaji said the UN must make more efforts to end the war and blockade in Yemen.

The senior Iranian diplomat added that the resilient Yemeni people are suffering from a deplorable situation due to the Saudi-led war and the economic siege.

Ali Asghar Khaji (R), Iranian Foreign Minister's senior advisor, and Norway's special envoy for Yemen Kjersti Tromsdal meet in Tehran, on January 15, 2022. (Photo by mfa.gov.ir)

The Norwegian diplomat, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, said the ongoing crisis in Yemen is high on the priorities of the world body.

Norway will continue its efforts to resolve the Yemeni crisis through peaceful means and expresses its support for efforts made by the UN special representative for Yemen, she added.

The Iranian and Norwegian diplomats also discussed ways to expand cooperation to help solve the crisis in the war-hit country.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies, including the United Arab Emirates, launched the brutal war against Yemen in March 2015 to eliminate Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstall former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

The war, accompanied by a tight siege, has failed to reach its goals, and has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people instead.

The UN says more than 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger. It says the situation in Yemen amounts to the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Saudi war has also taken a heavy toll on Yemen’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.

In a meeting with Mohammed Abdulsalam, who is the chief negotiator of Yemen’s National Salvation Government, in the Omani capital of Muscat on January 10, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the future outlook of the war-torn Yemen must be determined by the country’s own people through talks among all Yemeni groups.


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