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Iran, Britain to Resume Issuing Visas within Next Few Weeks

Friday, February 5, 2016

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran and Britain will resume issuing visas for the two countries’ citizens “within the next few weeks.”

“The two countries start issuing visa for ordinary citizens and ordinary passports within weeks,” the Iranian minister said.

“We believe that this measure is a positive move for further exchanges between the two countries’ people and we hope that it will be conducive to a better mutual understanding,” he added.

Also in his remarks, the Iranian foreign minister said he raised bilateral cooperation in banking, economic and investment sectors as well as regional issues with his British counterpart.

The Iranian Foreign Minister also said a political approach through intra-Syrian dialogue is the only solution to the crisis in Syria.

“From the beginning of the crisis in Syria we have maintained that a political resolution through inter-Syrian talks is the only way out,” Zarif said.

“We have also underlined that outside actors should facilitate such dialog and not seek to dictate its parameters or outcome,” he added.

Zarif also called for UN-brokered Syrian peace talks to resume after they were suspended on Wednesday.

“We hope that the pause in the Geneva talks is only temporary," he said.

The top Iranian diplomat said that during three rounds of international talks on Syria last year, Tehran “insisted on the imperative of an immediate ceasefire. We continue to do so.”

Zarif also said the “extent of humanitarian catastrophe” in Syria required still more to be done.

He highlighted Iran’s aid for internally displaced Syrians, saying Tehran has been regularly providing basic necessities to people there. “Iran has focused on providing aid to these internally displaced Syrians,” said Zarif.

The minister estimated Iran’s humanitarian aid at $2.8 billion so far through sending ambulances, tents, blankets and basic necessities.

Zarif further reiterated the Islamic Republic’s “readiness to engage in all efforts to bring an immediate ceasefire and to collaborate in humanitarian endeavors to alleviate the sufferings of the Syrian people.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister has also condemned the “unjustified objectification” of terrorism in Syria by any foreign party.

“Combating terrorism in the region must be firmly pursued by all regional and international parties as long as political process is being pursued within the framework of Syrian government’s dialogue with opposition groups,” he said.

The Iranian foreign minister reiterated the Islamic Republic’s support for peace talks between Syria’s government and the opposition, calling for diplomacy as the only way out of the crisis in the Arab country.

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