- Thursday, 17 January 2013 00:05
TEHRAN (AFP)— President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed no change in Iran's staunch "cooperation" with Damascus, in talks with visiting Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi, reports said on Wednesday.
"We hope that the plots and enmities against the Syrian nation will soon end and peace and security can be established in the country," Ahmadinejad said at the Tuesday night meeting, according to the official IRNA news agency.
"There is no solution except through putting an end to the conflict, beginning national reconciliation and holding elections," the Iranian president said, while expressing hope that Syria would overcome its "chaotic situation".
Ahmadinejad said the two countries' "cooperation in different fields is beneficial to Iran and Syria as well as regional nations."
Iran has staunchly backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime since an anti-regime uprising first began in March 2011, regarding many Syrian opposition groups as "terrorists" being backed by Western and Arab countries.
US officials accuse Iran of providing Syria with arms and military advisers.
Halaqi, for his part, blamed "the global arrogance" for putting financial pressure on Syria, but added that "the nation will firmly resist their plots," in comments cited by IRNA.
Halaqi arrived in Tehran on Tuesday for a two-day visit and is also scheduled to meet Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The 22-month Syrian civil war has so far left more than 60,000 people dead, according to the United Nations.