Senior Iranian and Russian diplomats hold talks on the latest developments in Syria, emphasizing the need for continued cooperation to facilitate the progress of the ongoing peace process, which has brought the Arab country’s warring sides to the negotiating table in Astana.
At a late Tuesday meeting in Moscow, Hossein Jaberi Ansari and Russian Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov called for the continuation of the peace process, which has been underway in the Kazakh capital, Astana, since January.
Russia, Iran, and Turkey helped bring about an all-Syria ceasefire late last year, a mechanism which was later endorsed by the United Nations.
The ceasefire paved the way for the three states to start mediating the Astana process, which has so far seen five rounds of negotiations between the Syrian government and armed opposition groups.
The Astana talks helped revive a long-stalled peace process, supervised by the UN, in the Swiss city of Geneva.
During the fourth round of the talks in May, an agreement was signed on the creation of four de-escalation zones across Syria, where airstrikes were agreed to be halted. The parties to the Astana process are now working to come up with the details of the agreement.
During the Moscow talks, Jaberi Ansari, who heads the Iranian delegation to the Astana talks, stressed the need for aid delivery to Syrians, the formation of a post-crisis political outlook for Syria as well as efforts to secure the return of the displaced to their homeland.
He also underlined the importance of Syria’s reconstruction, saying the trio would try to come up with the best courses of action by taking all the above-mentioned issues into consideration.
Representatives of the Syrian government and militant groups along with other attendees take part in the second session of Syria peace talks at the Rixos President Hotel in Astana, on February 16, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Bogdanov, for his part, said Moscow and Tehran continue to coordinate their steps to enhance security in Syria and put an end to hostilities there. “We are very interested in such vigorous, productive exchange of views and assessments based on trust, the joint analysis of what is going on in the region,” he added.
“The most important thing is the forecast of agreeing specific steps on how to help the peoples in that region, above all the Syrians, to develop optimal specific solutions concerning security, the cessation of hostilities, while effectively fighting terrorists and tackling humanitarian issues,” Bogdanov said.
The Russian official also hailed Iran’s contribution to the “two important platforms here – Astana and Geneva.”
Jaberi Ansari is to meet with Deputy Russian Defense Minister Lieutenant General Alexander Fomin later in the day.
US Russia sanctions Separately, the Russian diplomat addressed the sanctions recently approved by US Congress against his country.
Bogdanov said the US sanctions were absolutely illegitimate, and did not contribute to the development of trust between Moscow and Washington.
The draft law needs US President Donald Trump’s signature to become law.—Agencies