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Rohani must join Geneva forum: Russia
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for the presence of Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani in the upcoming Geneva international conference on Syria.

We believe that Iran’s president-elect should participate in the Geneva II conference on Syria, IRNA quoted Lavrov as saying on Thursday.

He emphasized that Iran and all neighboring countries to Syria which are directly linked to the crisis in the Arab country and host Syrian refugees should be invited to the forum.

The Russian foreign minister further pointed to the shift in France’s stance regarding Iran's presence at the conference, saying that Paris revised its position on the matter after strong initial opposition to Iran's participation.

On Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande said on the sidelines of the G-8 summit in Ireland that he would welcome the presence of Iran’s newly-elected president in the Geneva conference on Syria “if he can be constructive.”

In recent weeks, Russia has time and again underlined the importance of Iran’s presence in the Geneva II conference.

The unrest in Syria erupted over two years ago and many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

On May 7, Russia and the United States agreed in Moscow to convene an international conference on Syria, which will serve as a follow-up to an earlier Geneva meeting held in June 2012.

Iran has repeatedly expressed its opposition to any foreign intervention in Syria's internal affairs, stressing that dialog, national reconciliation and free elections are the keys to resolving the unrest.

Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting in Syria are foreign nationals.

SF/NN/HMV
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