TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iran’s deputy ambassador to the United Nation underlined the need for the expulsion of terrorists from Syria, stressing that the Arab country’s fate must be decided in a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process.

In an address to a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East and Syria, held in New York on October 17, Eshaq Al-e-Habib emphasized the necessity for the implementation of an agreement initiated by Iran, Russia and Turkey on de-escalation zones in Syria, saying all terrorists must leave the zone.

The Iranian diplomat also argued that “foreign terrorist fighters should return to their country of origin and terrorists with Syrian origin must be dealt with according to Syrian law.”

The following is the text of his speech:

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by wholeheartedly thanking the Bolivian presidency of the Council for convening this meeting. I also thank Mr. de Mistura for his efforts and briefing.

The implementation of the agreement to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib continues, in particular thanks to the cooperation of the Syrian government.

To review this process, a ministerial meeting of the Astana Guarantor States was convened here in New York on 26 September 2018.

It was underscored that every effort should be made for the full implementation of the agreement. It is particularly emphasized that, to preserve the Idlib de-escalation zone and to build upon this achievement, all terrorists must leave the zone. They also reiterated their strong resolve to continue fighting terrorists.

With respect to such terrorists, one thing should be crystal clear: Foreign Terrorist Fighters should return to their country of origin; and terrorists with Syrian origin must be dealt with according to Syrian law.

In any case and as a principle, in combating terrorists inside or outside of Syria, international humanitarian and human rights laws should be strictly observed.

Regarding the armed opposition groups, it is essential that all states having influence on them should encourage them to end the fighting in order to join political process. This is extremely crucial for making any progress in the political domain.

Concerning the political process, our ministers expressed satisfaction that the efforts initiated within the Astana Process aimed at solving the Syrian crisis through political means increasingly enjoys strong international support. This is also confirmation of the fact that the Syrian crisis did not have and has no military solution.

We appreciate the efforts of Mr. de Mistura, with respect to the establishment of a Constitutional Committee. At the same time, we would like to stress that measures related to the Constitutional Committee should be carried out according to the understandings reached between the Astana Guarantor States and the Special Envoy.

The proposal that was submitted in this regard needs to be further examined and adjusted. In their upcoming consultations in Geneva, the representatives of the Astana Guarantor States will discuss this issue with the SG’s Special Envoy.

We underline the importance of making progress in launching the Constitutional Committee. Nevertheless, exerting political pressure for setting any artificial deadline, deviating from the understandings reached, or any other political maneuvering is not acceptable and would prove to be counterproductive.

No success can be achieved and no progress can be made through hasty decisions, ignoring the realities on the ground, or political miscalculation.

Ultimately, the right to determine the future of Syria belongs exclusively to Syrians. Therefore, we should only facilitate a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process.

One of the key factors that can contribute to national dialogue and accelerate the reconciliation process is the return of all refugees and internally displaced persons. Therefore, every effort should be made to facilitate their voluntary return.

Unfortunately, there are attempts to deliberately discourage refugees and IDPs from returning to their homes. This is an irresponsible approach. Refugees or IDPs should not be forced to stay where they are or be prevented from repatriation.

Equally important is Syria’s reconstruction. This is critical in facilitating the return of refugees and IDPs as well as launching a significant political process. While the Syrian Government has already started the reconstruction process, the international community needs to contribute to this country in order to rebuild all of its infrastructures. This should not be politicized, delayed or made conditional.

As the Islamic Republic of Iran supported Syria in the defeat of terrorists, it will play a constructive role in bringing peace and prosperity to this country.

I thank you, Mr. President.