Four-Party Talks on Syria Seek Consensus as Saudis Stay Away
Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon).
Arab diplomatic sources told As-Safir yesterday [Sept. 26], that the Contact Group Quartet on Syria, which includes Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, has yet to reach an agreement on how to deal with the Syrian issue.
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The contact group for Syria — made up of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran — is still far from agreement on how to deal with the Syrian crisis, Lebanese daily As-Safir reports. Saudi Arabia has ceased sending a representative to the talks.Publisher: As-Safir (Lebanon)
Arab Diplomatic Sources to As-Safir: There is no Agreement among the Quartet Concerning a Solution in Syria
First Published: September 27, 2012
Posted on: September 27 2012
Translated by: Joelle El-Khoury
Categories : Syria
The sources added that there are significant differences between the positions of Iran and Turkey, while Egypt’s stance remains in the middle.
According to the sources, Egypt informed the committee members that its position can be summarized in four points: “ceasing violence, rejecting any foreign intervention, preserving the unity of the Syrian people and land and maintaining political unity.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, along with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, asked for an explanation regarding this stance. Egypt responded by saying that it does not want Syria to be similar to Lebanon or Iraq, in a reference to the sectarian quota system in the two countries.
The sources said that Turkey and Iran support this reasoning. However, Ankara has kept its position regarding the need for the Syrian regime to step down, thus enabling a transitional political process, which will be led by a group that is yet to be determined.
In addition, Tehran believes that the solution needs to come from a dialogue table that includes the ruling authorities and the opposition.
The Saudi absence from the meeting is itself indicative of the country’s position, according to the diplomatic sources. The sources noted that some reports indicate that Saudi Arabia only agreed to join the committee after Egypt insisted on it, given that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is hoping to restore Egypt's role in the region.
The sources predicted that Riyadh will provide Cairo with diplomatic freedom of movement, which would lead to the failure of the mission at the Syrian and regional levels. The latter level is represented by “the approach of political cooperation with Saudi’s regional enemy, Iran.”
This comes while Saudi Arabia, Qatar and France have been working with Turkey to thwart any political solution based on a dialogue in Syria, by establishing a secured buffer zone on the northern border using an advanced air defense system.
This idea was expressed in a statement made by the Qatari Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassim in New York. According to the sources, Doha is ready “to provide financial support for this idea.”
Despite the fact that this idea is complex and hard to unilaterally apply — and given that Turkey has thus far opposed any resolution that comes from outside the UN Security Council — the sources believe that if this idea is successfully applied, the crisis in Syria will only become bloodier. This might fulfill the repeated diplomatic prophecies from recent months about the prospects of a broad regional war.
In particular, Iran’s military leaders intensified their statements by saying that “Syria is the first line of defense against Israel.”
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