Iran ‘an impediment to Syria peace’, says Saudi foreign minister in Moscow

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Faisal bin Farhan denounces Iran's interventions in the Middle East

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud attend a joint news conference following the talks in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)
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Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Faisal bin Farhan on Thursday denounced Iran's interventions in the Middle East, after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

“I explained to him the importance of confronting the continuous Iranian interference and the successive attacks on the security and stability of the region,” Prince Faisal said.

“It is activity that only causes destruction and devastation, and never contributes to the development or prosperity for citizens of Iran or the kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

Speaking at a joint news conference in Moscow with Mr Lavrov, broadcast on Saudi TV, the Saudi minister said Tehran's proxy militias were obstructing a solution to the war in Syria.

The two ministers also discussed the work of the UN-mediated Constitutional Committee for Syria that is bringing together all sides to discuss the future of the country.

Drafting a new constitution, Mr Lavrov said, will end the war, “restore [the country] to stability, and establish it as part of the regional system".

"We agree with the Saudi partners that only the Syrians will determine their future."

He also accused the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen of obstructing peace efforts in that country.

On Yemen, the minister said that Saudi Arabia supports a diplomatic solution as revealed in the recent Riyadh Agreement to form a power-sharing government in the country. This, he said, opens up the path to a wider peace agreement.

Mr Lavrov called for Iran to speak with its neighbours.

“We are highly interested that Iran and Arab countries of the Gulf establish a dialogue, agreements on improving trust, transparency in military affairs, and collaboration in general. Our purpose for developing security concept aims to this,” he said.

The Russian foreign minister said that the recent re-establishment of relations between Gulf states and Qatar, ending a years-long stand-off, was an important development supported by Moscow.

“Of course, it’s an important step on the way to the stabilisation in the ... Gulf. Russia isn’t just actively interested in this; for many years we promote a known concept of collective security in this region. And of course, the decision of the summit contributes to the serious discussion of such ideas and initiatives,” Mr Lavrov said.