Roknabadi Urges Regional Figures to Support Iran's Proposed Plan for Syria

TEHRAN (ST)- Iranian Ambassador to Beirut Qazanfar Roknabadi called on political and religious figures in the region to support Tehran's 6-point plan to settle the crisis in Syria.

In a meeting with the new Antakya Orthodox Patriarch, Youhanna Yazigi, in Beirut on Thursday, Roknabadi called for the support of the regional political and religious figures for Iran's 6-point peace plan for the settlement of the crisis in Syria and form a national reconciliation government, according to FARS News Agency.

For his part Patriarch Yazigi, said that national reconciliation is the only solution to the crisis in Syria.

He said regional nations, especially the Syrians, whether Christian or Muslim, should think of dialogue as the only way out of the crisis and resort to wise manners to prevent violence and bloodshed.

Iran's proposed plan calls for an immediate end to violence and a start of the national dialogue. The third step is to create a reconciliation government and provide humanitarian aid to the people of Syria. The next step is the release of prisoners, who have not committed a crime against Syrians. And the final point is to allow media's full access to Syria.

Tehran has recently doubled its efforts to settle the crisis in Syria which has been experiencing unrests since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian security forces and border guards.

On November 18, Iran hosted the Syrian National Dialogue Conference, with the motto "No to Violence, Yes to Democracy".

Over 200 Syrian religious and political figures, leaders of tribes and parties as well as representatives and leaders of the opposition groups took part in the two-day meeting in Tehran.

A number of Syrian parliament members as well as senior political figures from Sudan, Algeria, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Brazil and Zimbabwe also took part in the meeting.

This was the first time that both Syrian opposition figures and the minister of national reconciliation Ali Haidar, as the representative of Syrian government, discussed ways of finding a solution to the crisis in Syria .

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Iraq's Jalal Talabani Arrives in Germany for Areatment

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has arrived in Germany for further treatment after a reported stroke, Berlin says.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle wished the 79-year-old Mr Talabani "a quick and full recovery", without providing any further details.

German doctors earlier said Mr Talabani's condition had improved sufficiently to permit travel.

He has struggled with his health and has often been treated abroad.

Mr Talabani was reportedly rushed to the Baghdad Medical City on Monday evening.

Iraqi officials conceded in private that his condition was serious and state television reported that he had suffered a stroke.

In recent weeks, he has been mediating in the dispute triggered by the government's attempt to take greater control of security in oil-rich territory around the city of Kirkuk, which is claimed by both Arabs and Kurds.

Kurdish forces have been deployed in the region since 2003.

A deal brokered by Mr Talabani called on both sides to withdraw troops from the contested areas, though no deadline was set.

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Iraqi President Talabani to be treated in Germany

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will be flown to Germany for further treatment, officials say, after he reportedly suffered a stroke.

Medical experts from Germany have been assessing Mr Talabani, whose condition is said to be stable and improving,according to BBC.

The president's spokesman, Barazan Sheikh Othman, said Mr Talabani would leave Iraq on Thursday or Friday.

He has struggled with his health in recent years and often been treated abroad. He underwent heart surgery in the US in 2008.

Mr Talabani was apparently rushed to the Baghdad Medical City on Monday evening, although no announcement was made until Tuesday morning when officials said he had suffered a "health emergency".

A statement from the president's office said his bodily functions were "normal" and that his condition was "stable". The emergency was caused by hardening of the arteries, it added.

But officials conceded in private that his condition was more serious and state television reported that Mr Talabani had suffered a stroke.

Teams from Iran and Germany flew in to assist in Mr Talabani's treatment and by Wednesday his condition had apparently improved sufficiently to allow him to fly abroad.

His spokesman, Barazan Sheikh Othman, said: "The president's medical situation has improved and he has passed the dangerous stage."

Deputy Health Minister Issam Namiq said Mr Talabani's condition was "stable" and

In recent weeks, he has been mediating in the dispute triggered by the government's attempt to take greater control of security in oil-rich territory around the city of Kirkuk, which is claimed by both Arabs and Kurds. Kurdish forces have been deployed in the region since 2003.

A deal brokered by Mr Talabani called on both sides to eventually withdraw troops from the contested areas, though no deadline was set.

Jalal Talabani is being treated at Baghdad Medical City

On Monday, Mr Talabani met Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to discuss the political problems. Afterwards, the president's office said they had both stressed the need for

According to Iraq's constitution, one of the two vice-presidents assumes the presidency temporarily if it becomes vacant. A new president would then be elected by parliament within 30 days.

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Iran, Russia to continue supporting Syria: Iran deputy FM

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says Tehran and Moscow will continue supporting the Syrian government, Press TV reports.

“I have seen that there has not been any change in the Russian strategy towards Syria,” Amir-Abdollahian said on the sidelines of a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in Moscow.

"Tehran and Moscow will continue supporting Syria,” he noted, adding that Iran’s six-point peace plan allows for a political solution to the crisis in Syria “and Russia and Iran share this position.”

Iran hosted a two-day meeting between the representatives of the Syrian government and opposition groups in November with participants unanimously opposing foreign interference and calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Arab country.

High-ranking officials from different countries including Russia, China, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey and Jordan participated in the meeting with the main theme of “No to Violence, Yes to Democracy.”

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Egypt orders probe into alleged vote irregularities amid protests

 

Egypt has ordered a probe into the alleged irregularities during the first set of a constitutional referendum, as opposition rallied against the contentious draft constitution which they say is too Islamist and ignore minorities' rights.

The Egyptian Justice Ministry on Tuesday assigned judges to investigate Saturday's voting process upon the request of the Higher Commission for Elections, which demanded a probe into "the electoral crimes that took place during the referendum, "according to Xinhua.

Saturday's voting in 10 of Egypt's 27 provinces, including Cairo and Alexandria, has garnered 56.5 percent "yes" votes to the proposed charters backed by President Mohammed Morsi.

Thousands of protesters marched Tuesday to the presidential palace and Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square to mount pressure on Morsi over the passage of the draft constitution. But the scale was not as large as previous demonstrations.

The National Salvation Front opposition coalition said that the charter serves only Morsi and his supporters, and tramples on the rights of minorities.

After the release of the initial results, the coalition has claimed widespread irregularities and demanded a revote.

"The violations include duplication of voting cards, vote buying, deliberate delay of opening polling stations and attempts to affect the will of voters before casting their votes," Amr Hamzawy, a leading member of the National Salvation Front, told Xinhua.

Proponents of the basic law denied the fraud claims, saying they are groundless and politically motivated.

The balloting was based on the voters' national identity number that was impossible to be duplicated and was held under full judicial supervision, Mahmoud Abou Shoosha, a member of Egypt's Supreme Election Commission, told a press conference Tuesday.

"The president's powers and authorities will be limited to those in the constitution, which are much less than his powers today," he said.

Opposition boycotted the draft constitution out of fears that some of its clauses may steer the country toward a religious state and hamper civil rights.

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