Syrian special envoy meets Indian leaders

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 06, 2013 14:20 hrs

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) Syrian President Basher Assad's special envoy Buthaina Shabaan Wednesday met External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and apprised him about the ongoing conflict in her country.

Shabaan, who is here on a three-day visit, also delivered the Syrian president's letter addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a statement issued here said.

Shabaan also met Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.

"India reiterated deep concern at the security situation in Syria and the continued escalation in violence," the statement said.

"We also expressed our concern about the plight of the people of Syria arising out of intense fighting and conflict," it said.

Over 70,000 people have been killed and more than one million displaced in strife torn Syria in the past two years.

"India urged the need for peaceful resolution of the crisis with participation of all parties taking into account the legitimate aspirations of all Syrians for which the Geneva Communique which includes the six-Point Plan of Kofi Annan provides a good basis," the statement said.

Shabaan, who is Assad's political and information advisor, is also expected to inform the prime minister about her government's stand on the latest peace moves initiated by Russia and the United States to end the two-year old turmoil in her country.

Shabaan had visited India along with Assad in 2008. She also visited India after that for further consultations.

The visit follows Iranian Speaker Ali Larijani's talks with the prime minister, the external affairs minister and other leaders, during which the Syrian situation came up for extensive discussion.

Iran wants India to play a major role in international affairs as it has emerged as a major regional power.

Syria feels that India, like Russia, Iran and China should play a positive role in ending violence in that country. It is supportive of UN-Arab League Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi's initiative on direct negotiations between the warring factions.

Syria has accused the West and some Arab nations of arming the rebels. It also claimed that the Friends of Syria group was encouraging extremists forces seize power by force.

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