The Qatari foreign minister Khalid al-Attiyah revealed that his country has suggested to Iran the idea of taking Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa out of the country for negotiations, stressing that the "Syrian people will not go back and not accept Assad in power".
Al-Attiyah was speaking in a special talk moderated by the Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs, Ghassan Salame and attended by many French and European diplomats.
He said he confirmed with his Iranian counterpart Muhammad Jawad Zarif that Assad can leave power and asked his people to stop the war.
"But if you are asking us, the Friends of Syria, to push the rebels and the Syrian opposition to stop, they are easy to convince," al-Attiyah added.
"Why are you afraid of true elections? If he is really elected by the people, he will gain their respect," al-Attiyah asked Zarif, who repeated the Iranian position that "if Assad left, the Syrian institutions will collapse".
The Qatari minister said that he visited Iran three times to convince it to take the Syrian Vice President out of Syria to negotiate, and, while that the rhetoric of the Iranian officials was previously "too tough", their tone has changed.
"When I met Zarif recently, I felt that the Iranian speech had changed, and when we met the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in his meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council, we felt that his strong position in supporting Assad has also changed," al-Attiyah continued.
Translated and edited by the Syrian Observer