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The New Arab Staff

Syria's Mekdad in Iran for first visit as foreign minister

Mekdad took over from deceased foreign minister Walid Muallem [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 December, 2020

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Mekdad took over as Syria's foreign minister in November.


Syria's Faisal Mekdad on Sunday evening arrived in Tehran for his first overseas visit since being made foreign minister.

Mekdad met his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran, where the two discussed "bilateral, regional and international issues, as well as the joint fight against terrorism", according to Iran's foreign ministry.

Iran is one of the Syrian regime's chief foreign backers, and has sent thousands of fighters and officers to help prevent Bashar Al-Assad's fall following a 2011 uprising.

Zarif said that there was a "necessity of vigilance and consultation" between Iran and Syria due to the "recent regional developments and condition", the statement added.

Mekdad became foreign minister after the death of Syria’s long-time chief diplomat Walid Muallem in November. 

He had been Muallem's deputy since 2006, having already served as a Syrian diplomat for many years, including at the UN.

Mekdad will meet leading Iranian officials during his time in Tehran, which is currently preparing to re-engage with the US under President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office in January.

Syria's war has killed at least 500,000 people, the vast majority civilians - victims of regime bombing and shelling.

The two rivals in Syria's civil war - the Assad regime and opposition - plus members of civil society, have held new talks in Geneva on establishing a new constitution.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said in a tweet that Tehran "stands alongside the people and government of Syria in the fight against terrorism" but that "a political solution is the only possible choice to end the current crisis".

Tehran has been widely criticised for its role in escalating the war in Syria sending in foreign militia fighters and propping up Bashar Al-Assad's brutal regime.

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