Photo: Anadolu Agency
Photo: Anadolu Agency

Vienna,  18 Muharram 1437/31 October 2015 (MINA) – International and regional actors, including Iran and Saudi Arabia met in Vienna on Friday for high-level talks to reach a political solution to the civil war in Syria.

The U.S. and Russia invited foreign ministers from 15 countries, including Turkey, Qatar and France, as well as senior representatives of the EU and UN to the talks. Russia reportedly insisted on including Iran in the talks, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

Foreign ministers of arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran will sit on the same negotiating table for the first-time since the outbreak of civil-war in Syria in 2011.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed Iran’s participation and described the meeting as a ray of hope.

“If all parties show willingness during negotiations for the de-escalation of the crisis in Syria and make their contributions, then this can be a first step towards a political solution to the Syrian conflict,” Steinmeier said ahead of the talks in Vienna.

Majority of countries that participated in the talks, including Turkey, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, want Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave, blaming him for the conflict that has so far caused the deaths of more than 250,000 victims as well as displacing more than half of the population.

Russia and Iran on the other hand want al-Assad, their key ally in the region, to remain in power.  (T/P010/R03)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)