Iran, Russia and Turkey, which support opposing sides in Syria’s war, agreed yesterday to co-ordinate their efforts to reduce tensions in the country, whose conflict has entered its 10th year.
The three “reiterated their determination to enhance the trilateral co-ordination”, said a joint statement issued at the end of a video conference between their leaders.
The declaration also “emphasised their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity” of Syria.
The talks were the first since September in the so-called Astana format, talks between the three main foreign powers in the Syrian conflict. Iran and Russia have been staunch supporters of President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has called for the ouster of his regime and backed opposition armed groups.
But Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif, whose country chaired the online meeting, described the talks as “constructive”. The three countries had “agreed to continue co-ordination...focusing on tension reduction, political process and humanitarian relief,” he tweeted. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani told the conference “the Islamic republic believes the only solution to the Syrian crisis is political and not a military solution.”
“We continue to support the inter-Syrian dialogue and underline our determination to fight the terrorism of Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group), Al Qaeda and other related groups,” he said.
Putin raised similar concerns. He said the objective of the conference was to analyse the situation and agree on steps “to ensure the long-term normalisation in Syria”. Putin also denounced as “illegitimate” a new raft of US sanctions against Syria.
Erdogan said Turkey’s “fundamental priorities are to safeguard Syria’s political unity and territorial integrity, restore peace on the ground and find a lasting political solution to the conflict.”
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