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Rohani Tells Assad ‘National Congress’ A Step Toward Stability


Iranian President Hassan Rohani (left), Russia's Vladimir Putin (C), and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has told Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in a phone call that a proposed "national congress" involving opposing forces could help bring stability and security to the war-ravaged country.

Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted Rohani on November 25 as telling Assad that a meeting of government and opposition forces could be "a step toward stability and security of Syria."

The proposal for a congress came during a trilateral summit between the leaders of Iran, Turkey, and Russia on November 22 at the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

After that gathering, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the three powers had agreed to organize a congress involving Syrian government and opposition forces in an effort to end the Middle East country's six-year civil war.

Iran and Russia support Assad, while Turkey and the United States back differing rebel group’s fighting the Syrian government in the bloody civil war, which has killed more than 310,000 people, created 6.1 million refugees, and internally displaced some 5 million Syrians since 2011.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has sent weapons and soldiers to Syria to aid Assad's government.

No date has been set for the national congress, and it is not clear how it would differ from other efforts being taken to the conflict in Syria.

The United Nations sponsors peace talks in Geneva in search of a political solution, while Russia, Iran, and Turkey cosponsor negotiations in the Kazakh capital, Astana, that focus on battlefield issues and involve some rebel forces and the government.

IRNA also quoted Rohani as saying Iran was ready to play a role in the rebuilding of the Middle East country.

"Tehran is ready to have an active role in reconstruction of Syria," Rohani said.

With reporting by Reuters and IRNA
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