0252 GMT January 21, 2021
Iranian Foreign Minister’s Senior Assistant on Special Political Affairs Ali-Asghar Khaji said that Syria’s humanitarian issues have been taken hostage by Western countries for their political purposes.
Khaji made the remarks in a Saturday meeting with the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen who has traveled to Tehran to meet Iranian officials, IRNA reported.
Referring to Western countries’ efforts to prevent holding an international conference on Syrian refugees recently held in the Arab country’s capital, Khaji said that the countries which have always claimed that are advocates of humanitarian issues, have been taken hostage the Syria’s humanitarian issues for their political purposes.
He criticized Western countries for their refusal to attend the two-day International Conference on the Return of Syrian Refugees which was held from Nov. 11-12 in Damascus.
On November 10, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced that the EU representatives would not take part in the conference.
“A number of EU member states’ foreign ministers and the high representative have received an invitation to a conference on the theme of refugee returns in Damascus. The EU and its member states will not attend this conference,” Borrell said.
Since the beginning of a foreign-backed war in the country in 2011, some 5.6 million Syrians have been forced to flee abroad as refugees, mostly to the neighboring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Khaji supported Pedersen's efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis and his efforts to follow up the holding of meetings of the Syrian Constitution Committee.
The UN official, for his part, appreciated Iran's efforts to support the political process underway to resolve the Syrian crisis.