As Saudi Arabia considers deploying ground forces to Syria, Iran’s foreign minister has stressed the importance of pursuing a political solution, especially in light of ceasefire reached during the Munich talks.
Early Friday morning, world leaders reached a last minute ceasefire agreement aimed at ending the violence in Syria. Expected to be implemented within one week, the agreement was praised by both US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
But ahead of the talks, Kerry spoke of the need for a backup plan, saying “there has to be consideration of a Plan B.” This referred to the possibility of sending ground forces into Syria, something the Saudi Arabian government has expressed a willingness to do.
On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressed this directly, stressing that a “political solution” must be found to solve the crisis in Syria.
“I think what is important for everybody is to focus on a political solution and not on complicating factors particularly boasting about situations that are more illusions than reality,” he told reporters in Munich.
Zarif also praised the success of the talks.
“Whether some of the countries in the region continue to believe that these terrorist, extremist organizations constitute a bargaining chip for them, whether they can even provide short term advantage or whether they can wake up and see that these are threats first and foremost against them before they are even a threat against the rest of the region,” he said.
“But the agreement generally is to have a comprehensive humanitarian assistance and comprehensive cessation of hostilities which if implemented is a step in the right direction.”
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has also criticized Saudi Arabian aggression, stressing that “coffins” await any aggressor in Syria, “whether they be Saudis or Turks.”
While there are still a number of obstacles that could stall the peace process, Zarif hopes that the ceasefire is upheld.
“Everybody agrees that known terrorist and extremist organizations are not going to be a part of the ceasefire,” he said.
“I hope that the Munich negotiations will lead to a wise solution through the acceptance of realities by those who have kept, with their illusions, the Syrian people in pain and suffering and killing and homelessness.”
On Friday, Zarif also met with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss bilateral cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.
“The mutual disposition to further strengthening of Russian-Iranian cooperation in the interests of ensuring stability and security in the Middle East was reaffirmed,” Zarif told reporters.