World powers to meet again to discuss Syrian war

French foreign minister says next round of talks among world powers aiming to find solution to end war in Syria set to take place in two weeks

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

UN , EU and 17 nations hold meeting at Hotel Imperial on October 30, 2015 in Vienna, Austria to discuss syria war

Updated Oct 31, 2015

French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius said on Friday that major world powers will be holding another meeting in two weeks, in an attempt to find a political solution for the Syrian war.

"We discussed all issues, even the most difficult," he told reporters following the first round of talks in Vienna, which is the first time all sides in the conflict came together.

"There are points of disagreement, but we advanced enough for us to meet again, in the same configuration, in two weeks," Fabius added.

EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini commented on Vienna talks as being "historic" and "constructive." Adding that she hoped a political process in Syria could be reached. 

"I would say that this meeting definitely was not an easy one, but for sure a historic one as we had, for the first time, all the actors around the table, and I would say a very constructive atmosphere," she said.

Meanwhile, both the British Foreign Minister, Philip Hammond and the Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said that the talks did not reach an agreement about the future of Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad. 

A large-scale meeting to discuss Syria’s four-year civil war began in Vienna on Friday, Iran, a key ally of Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad, will participate in the meeting alongside Saudi Arabia, supporter of the opposition to the Syrian regime leader, Bashar al Assad.

British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond said, "We want to see if there is way forward if there is a way of establishing a process which can end the suffering in Syria. We will sit down now and explore the views of everybody around the table and see if there is a way to go forward."

The United Nations, the European Union and another 17 countries are taking part in the meeting. Syrian opposition's main political body, the Syrian National Coalition was not invited to the international talks in Vienna concerning their country.

It is the first time that Iran has been officially involved in the international meetings concerning Syria.

The meeting was called to discuss the possible fate of the Syrian regime leader, Bashar al Assad, who recently said that he is ready for fresh elections and rejected demands that called on him to step down. On the eve of the meeting, Iran signaled it might give up on its insistence that Assad remain in power.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond arrives for a meeting with 17 nations, the EU and UN at the Hotel Imperial on October 30, 2015 in Vienna, Austria (AFP)

Tehran and Moscow both support Assad's government, while Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia and their Western and Gulf allies are against the Syrian regime.

Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister, Li Baodong said, "We are happy to see that major powers in the region will be in the meeting so we like to bring them aboard, make sure that we can find an appropriate solution to find a way out."

Friday’s talks are the first high-level discussion for which the US and its allies did not oppose Iran being involved.

Russia and Iran have recently stepped up their military involvement in the Syrian conflict.

The US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab nations have insisted that Assad must go and that he could not play a long-term role in Syria’s future, but Russia and Iran said that Assad should not be forced to give up power and that Syrians should decide their own political future.

US Secretary of State John Kerry talks to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a photo opportunity before a meeting in Vienna, Austria on October 30, 2015 (Reuters)

Foreign ministers from the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Turkey gathered for the first meeting in Vienna on Friday last week, to discuss the situation in Syria and to define strategies to support the so-called "political transition.” However, they failed to reach an agreement over how to deal with Syrian regime leader, Bashar al Assad.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry met Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna on Thursday before the second round of talks concerning Syria.

The rivalry between Assad’s allies Russia and Iran and Western and Arab nations demanding his ouster has intensified since Russia began air strikes against opposition forces in Syria a month ago.

Meanwhile, 40 people were killed and almost 100 wounded after Syrian regime forces fired missiles into a marketplace in a town near Damascus on Friday, as the talks were going on.

The four-year Syrian civil war has left more than 250,000 people dead and displaced millions from their homes.


TRTWorld and agencies