November 13, 2012 / 3:48 PM / 5 years ago

Iran plans "Syrian national dialogue" meeting

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran, the closest ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, will host a Syrian national dialogue meeting next week, the official IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday.

“The slogan of this one-day meeting will be ‘no to violence, yes to democracy’,” IRNA quoted Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian as saying.

“Aside from representatives from different ethnic groups, political parties, minorities and the opposition, there will also be representatives from the government at the meeting,” Abdollahian added, without giving further details.

There was no indication that the Syrian National Coalition, a newly formed umbrella opposition group led by moderate Sunni Muslim cleric Mouaz Alkhatib, would attend the talks in Tehran.

The mainstream Syrian opposition rejects any dialogue with Assad, except possibly on the terms of his departure.

Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Editing by Alistair Lyon

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