Saudi FM: Friday’s Syria talks to test Russian, Iranian peace intentions

John Kerry, Adel al-Jubeir
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir
Saudi Arabia will take part in talks on Syria in Vienna on Friday in order to test the intentions of Russia and Iran, the Syrian government’s main backers, with regards to a political solution to the conflict, 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.

A group of countries supporting armed opponents to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will meet in Vienna on Friday to seek a political solution for Syria’s ongoing conflict.

“There will be a meeting on Friday of a broad group of countries supporting the Syrian opposition as a broader group of countries from the region will meet to discuss the intentions of these countries in finding a solution to the Syrian crisis, the most important element of which is the time and means of Bashar al-Assad’s exit,” al-Jubeir said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and three of his deputies will attend the multilateral talks, Iranian state news agencies said earlier on Wednesday.

It will be the first time that Tehran attends international negotiations on Syria’s war. Other participants, notably the United States, say Assad can play no part in Syria’s future.

The Saudi foreign minister added that the kingdom and its allies would hold a separate meeting on Friday to seek “the time and means of Bashar al-Assad’s exit”.

Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, Lebanon, the European Union and France also said they would attend Friday’s talks, which come a day after a smaller round of negotiations between the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Around a dozen participants are expected in total.

It was not clear whether any invitation had been issued to either the Syrian government or the opposition. Neither side was present at the last talks in Vienna.

Al Arabiya