U.N. envoy for Syria says Saudis back Syria talks despite row with Iran

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 05, 2016 11:52 AM

GENEVA (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has voiced its determination that tensions with Iran will not hamper talks on Syria's political process, scheduled for Geneva this month, the U.N. special envoy for Syria said on Tuesday.

Staffan de Mistura, in a statement issued after talks in Riyadh with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and the Syrian opposition, said: "There is a clear determination on the Saudi side that the current regional tensions will not have any negative impact on the Vienna momentum and on the continuation of the political process that the U.N., together with the International Syria Support Group, intend to start in Geneva soon."

De Mistura did not characterize the position of the Syrian opposition at the meeting, but said: "We cannot afford to lose this momentum despite what is going on in the region."

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Sudan broke all ties with Iran, and the United Arab Emirates downgraded its relations on Monday after the Saudi embassy in Tehran was stormed by protesters. Kuwait recalled its ambassador to Iran on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Alison Williams)