Brooks Newmark welcomes UK’s re-engagement with Iran

11th November 2013

Following the Foreign Secretary’s statement on the Iran nuclear negotiations and efforts to bring together a peace conference on Syria, Brooks Newmark welcomes re-engagement with Iran as it could play an important role in bringing peace to Syria.

Mr Brooks Newmark (Braintree) (Con): I congratulate the Foreign Secretary on re-engaging with Iran, which could play an important role in bringing peace, particularly to Syria. It would be helpful if he could enlighten us on his discussions with the Iranian Foreign Minister on what critical path the Iranians see to bringing peace in Syria and, on the flip-side of that coin, what conversations he has had with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, which still seem to be supplying Jabhat al-Nusra, ISIS, ISIL and other jihadis who are already preventing peace in the region.

Mr Hague: On the question about Saudi Arabia and other states, those countries are part of the core Friends of Syria group and among the 11 countries that came to London at my invitation a few weeks ago. I discuss the situation regularly with His Royal Highness Prince Saud, the Saudi Foreign Minister, and we have all agreed that our support should go through the supreme military council of General Idris and the Syrian National Coalition.

Those 11 countries have agreed that we should not support other groups in Syria, particularly extremist groups, so we look to our partners in the group to live up to those commitments. On the question about Iran, our discussions on Syria have been centred, as I mentioned earlier, on Iran supporting the outcome of Geneva I as the basis for a political settlement in Syria, but it has not yet given that support.

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