Iraq expects no 'miracles' from Syria conference

2013-05-30 13:35

BAGHDAD, May 30, 2013 (AFP) -Iraq's foreign minister said on Thursday that he expects no "miracles" from a proposed peace conference for Syria, but that just holding talks between the regime and the opposition marks progress.

Hoshyar Zebari said that Iraq, which shares a long border with Syria and stands accused by Western powers of turning a blind eye to military equipment being transported through its airspace to support the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, would likely attend the talks.

"I don't think the conference, if it is held, will yield magical results or miracles," Zebari said at a news conference in Baghdad.

"But, if it can start a dialogue process and convene the government, the regime and the opposition in one room to communicate and to talk under international, regional, Arab and Islamic supervision, and launch a future mechanism, then I think the conference would have achieved its goal."

Zebari said Iraq would attend the conference, but added: "Things can change."

The talks would follow up on a meeting of the major powers held in Geneva in June last year that set out a transition process. This time, it would include representatives of Assad and the Syrian opposition.

But whether Iran and Saudi Arabia take part and who will represent the divided Syrian opposition and Assad's government have all clouded preparations for the meeting.

Iraq, meanwhile, has sought to publicly avoid siding with either Assad or the rebels.

The more than two-year uprising in Syria has reportedly left more than 94,000 people dead.

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