10 January 2016

Note to correspondents: UN Special Envoy for Syria wraps up visit to Tehran, Iran

Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura

Special Envoy de Mistura concluded today his present round of regional consultations with meetings in Tehran.  He had useful exchanges with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian.  Mr de Mistura updated his interlocutors on preparations for the upcoming Geneva Talks.  Like he had done when he visited Saudi Arabia on 5 January, he asked and obtained the assurance of his interlocutors that current tensions in the region would not affect the engagement of their government in supporting the Vienna process and facilitating the holding of the Geneva Talks.

The Special Envoy is now going to debrief the Secretary-General and seek his guidance in view of the beginning of the Talks.  He looks forward to the International Syria Support Group and the Security Council continuing to provide serious and consistent engagement, in order to ensure the beginning, on 25 January, of genuine political discussions aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis.



Verbatim Transcript of press stakeout delivered by UN Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, at the end of his visit to Tehran on 10.01.2016

“Thank you for this opportunity to give some comments at the end of my first day here in Tehran. This ends, for the time being, the first part of my regional consultations which have led me from Riyadh to Damascus, Beirut, Ankara and Tehran. They are meant to be a part of my own preparations for the Geneva talks which are expected to start on the 25th of January. As you know the main point which I have been concerned about has been how these Geneva talks can start in the proper atmosphere and with the proper chances of succeeding. In that context, one of my own concerns has been whether the regional current tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran could or not affect the beginning of these talks. When I was in Riyadh, I asked that question, and as you will probably remember, the Saudi Foreign Minister assured me, and I was able to quote him, that there will be no impact on the Geneva talks from their point of view, and that there will be still a continuation of their own engagement in the Vienna momentum. Today I had very useful discussions with Foreign Minister Zarif and I am continuing after this to have intense discussions with deputy Foreign Minister Abdullahian. That will also be part of my own preparation and explaining how we plan to proceed regarding the future Geneva talks. I asked, obtained, and can refer to you, from Minister Zarif, that there is no intention by the Iranian authorities as well to see the current tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, affecting their own commitment and engagement in the Vienna momentum, of which they are very much part of, but also that it is not going to affect their own commitment and engagement in supporting the UN attempts to have a constructive beginning, on the 25th of January in Geneva, of the Syrian talks. That is my main message. Bottom line: in Riyadh I got that type of assurance, and that reassures me and the Secretary General. In Tehran, I got the same assurance, that tensions, which are unfortunately ongoing, are not going to affect neither the Vienna momentum nor the Geneva talks.”