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    Ex-British PM Tony Blair

    Russia, Iran Must Be Part of Syrian Peace Process - Tony Blair

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    Russia and Iran must be included in negotiations pertaining to the Syrian peace process, former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair said during a Council on Foreign Relations forum in New York City on Friday.

    NEW YORK (Sputnik) — Blair, who served as prime minster of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007, delivered his remarks one day after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that a third round of talks on Syria crisis settlement will likely take place later this month in New York.

    "I think now where we are, because of everything that has happened, you have to get an agreement in which the faction that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad represents, and the interests behind him, Russia, Iran, yes, they are going to have to be part of this process," Blair stated. "There is no other way out of that."

    At the first round of Vienna talks in late October, international mediators elaborated a nine-point plan on ending the Syrian civil war, including a definition of national unity, the defeat of extremist groups and assistance to refugees.

    During the second round of the talks, held on November 14, the mediators agreed to the upholding of the 2012 Geneva communique on reaching a political solution to the Syrian civil war.

    The participating states also set a six-month timeframe for Syria to form an interim unity government, while stipulating that elections in Syria should be held within 18 months.


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