Iran FM urges Syria pullout of 'all foreign forces'

Iran FM urges Syria pullout of 'all foreign forces'
Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:58:46

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called for the withdrawal of all foreign-backed militants from Syria, highlighting the role of Syrian people in determining their own fate without foreign interference.

“I can ask all foreign forces to withdraw... to allow the Syrian people to decide their own future,” Zarif told a panel discussion held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday.

Foreign forces should stop funding and supplying weapons to militants in Syria, said the top Iranian diplomat.

He also stated that any military option to end the Syrian crisis should be off the table.

Zarif further dismissed claims by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who had accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of preparing the ground for terrorists to enter the country.

"Extremism is a product of foreign intervention and product of short-sightedness. Those who created the Taliban [in Afghanistan] ended up paying their blood for what they have created. The flames that have been created in our region will engulf everybody," Zarif said.

He emphasized that those who are calling on President Assad to step down are responsible for the crisis in the Middle East region, which has caused innumerable deaths.

Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Swiss TV station RTS on the sidelines of the WEF that the fate of Syria needs to be determined solely by the Syrian people, rejecting any foreign intervention in the future of the Arab country.

“I believe that only Syrian people are allowed to decide and nobody else can pass a judgment on the future of Syria,” President Rouhani said.

Syria has been gripped by a foreign-backed crisis since 2011. Press reports widely indicate that Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside the country.

IHS Jane's, the US-based defense consultancy institute, estimates that some 10,000 militants are fighting for groups affiliated with al-Qaeda such as al-Nusra Front, and the rest fight for different militant groups.


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