Syrian prime minister due in Tehran

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi will arrive in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Tuesday.

“The Syrian Prime Minister will arrive in Tehran tomorrow (Tuesday), leading a high-ranking political and economic delegation,” Mehmanparast said on Monday.

He also reaffirmed Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s roadmap for the restoration of peace in his crisis-stricken country.

“The most peaceful way to stop more damage to people [of Syria] in the shortest possible time and create appropriate conditions to meet people’s demands is the plan announced by Bashar Assad which conforms to the plan we [Iran] had earlier outlined,” Mehmanparast noted.

In an address on January 6, the Syrian president proposed a new strategic roadmap for dialogue with the opposition and political parties to resolve the unrest in Syria.

Assad called for an end to terrorist operations in Syria and urged “concerned states and parties” to stop funding, arming and harboring militants.

“We believe that the self-declared advocates of democracy in different countries should support solutions which would restore peace and stability to Syria and create suitable conditions for people to participate in an election and cast their votes,” Mehmanparast said.

“We believe that Syria is home to 24 million people, but the armed groups, regardless of the fact that some of them are foreign nationals or backed by foreign countries, are just a small part of that population who number 100,000 at most. Based on what criteria, one can say that they represent the majority of the Syrian people to determine conditions for Assad to step down?” he asked.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.

The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.