President Francois Hollande speaks on the sidelines of the G8 summit, near Enniskillen, N. Ireland on June 18, 2013
French President Francois Hollande speaks during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G8 summit near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland on June 18, 2013. Hollande said Tuesday that Iranian president-elect Hassan Rowhani would be welcome at Syria peace talks "if he can be useful". © Jewel Samad - AFP
President Francois Hollande speaks on the sidelines of the G8 summit, near Enniskillen, N. Ireland on June 18, 2013
AFP
Last updated: June 18, 2013

Hollande: New Iranian president welcome at Syria peace talks

French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday that Iranian president-elect Hassan Rowhani would be welcome at Syria peace talks "if he can be useful".

"Let's wait for the new president's statements," Hollande said at the end of a G8 summit, adding: "My position is that if he can be useful, yes, he would be welcome" at a peace conference mooted for later this year in Geneva.

Western nations including France have previously been firmly opposed to Iran taking part in a proposed Syria peace conference, which G8 leaders said Tuesday should take place "as soon as possible".

Rowhani, a moderate cleric, was on Saturday declared winner of Iran's presidential election, ending an eight-year conservative grip on the Islamic republic's administration under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

On Monday he warned against foreign intervention in Syria, where Iran has been backing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

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