Saudi foreign minister: Vienna talks test for Iran, Russia

Upcoming Syrian peace talks in Vienna will be test for Iran and Russia, to see if they’re serious about political solution in war-torn nation, says Saudi foreign minister

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir attends a joint news conference with his British counterpart Philip Hammond in Riyadh October 28, 2015.

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said the upcoming International peace talks in Vienna concerning Syria’s civil war, will test whether Russia and Iran are "serious" about finding a political solution.

Jubeir's comments came after Iran accepted the invitation to by the US and Russia to attend the talks in the Austrian capital.

"If they're serious we will know, and if they're not serious we will also know and stop wasting time with them," Jubeir said at a news conference in Riyadh. Jubeir spoke in the presence of visiting British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

Vienna’s Syria peace talks is a two-day talks beginning on Thursday, and according to Jubeir, it will "test the intentions of the Syrians and the Russians."

Hammond also expressed optimism and said the talks are aimed at bridging the gap between Assad’s allies Iran and Russia on one side, and countries against Assad’s regime, which are Turkey, the US and Gulf states including Saudi Arabia.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond speaks during a joint news conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al Jubeir in Riyadh October 28, 2015.

Hammond said many nations agree that Assad has "too much blood on his hands" and should go. Jubeir said the Saudi position had not changed. "There has to be certainty that Bashar al Assad will leave," he said.

Iran, in particular has been invited to attend talks over Syria’s future for the first time, as they have supported Assad’s regime in Syria during the ongoing war against opposition groups such as the Free Syrian Army.

Although the US doesn't agree on Iran's "destabilising activities" in Syria, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that officials "always have recognised that at some point in the discussion, moving toward a political transition, we have to have a conversation and a dialogue with Iran."

Iranian journalist Ghanbar Naderi spoke to Al Jazeera and said “the increasing number of deaths of Iranian soldiers in Syria may have prompted Tehran to join the negotiations.”

Iran earlier confirmed that Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will join his counterparts from Russia, the US, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia at the talks.

Coupled with Iran, comes Russia, which has started a new momentous chapter in the Syrian conflict when Russian warplanes started its air strikes in Syria on September 30, with initial claim of battling DAESH terrorist group, however, in time the Russian intentions in Syria appeared to be to only protect the Assad regime and withering authorities.

TRTWorld and agencies