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10/29/15

Syrian Crises: Arch-rivals Saudi Arabia, Iran to discuss Syria face-to-face for first time - by Angus McDowall and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin


Arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran announced they would attend international talks in Vienna on Friday on the Syrian conflict, in what will be their first meeting to discuss the four-year-long war.

Saudi Arabia said it aimed to gauge during the talks the willingness of Iran and Russia, the main backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, for a peace deal, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Wednesday.

"The view of our partners ... was that we should test the intentions of the Iranians and the Russians in arriving at a political solution in Syria, which we all prefer," al-Jubeir told a news conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and three of his deputies will travel to Vienna, Iranian state news agencies said. It will be the first time that Tehran has been represented in international discussions on the Syrian crisis.

Iran says it supports a political solution in Syria, but says Assad should be part of the process. Opposition groups, and their regional backers including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, say Assad must leave power as a precondition for peace.


Read more: Arch-rivals Saudi Arabia, Iran to discuss Syria face-to-face for first time | Reuters

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