Special envoy Kofi Annan said Tuesday that Iran “can play a positive role” in resolving the crisis in Syria but declined to provide details on an apparently new “approach” suggested by Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“I believe … that Iran has a role to play,” Annan said, repeating his previous stance on the matter. “I don’t speak for other countries.”
The United States has charged than Iran, Assad’s close ally, has played a “destructive” role in helping keep the Syrian president in power amid a violent uprising now in its 16th month.
Annan, joint envoy for both the United Nations and the Arab League, spoke Tuesday at a news conference in Tehran with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. The former U.N. chief later flew to neighboring Iraq for new talks.
Annan declined to provide specifics on what kind of approach for ending the violence he discussed the previous day with Assad in Damascus, the Syrian capital. But the initiative seems to have come from Assad, a point that may make it a non-starter with the opposition, which has insisted that Assad must go before meaningful talks can begin for peace and a political transition.
“He [Assad] made a suggestion of building an approach from the ground up in some of the districts where we have extreme violence — to try and contain the violence in those districts and, step by step, build up and end the violence across the country,” Annan said. “The details, of course, are to be worked out and the opposition — we’ll also have to discuss this with them.”
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