Iran’s Rouhani urges lasting ceasefire in Syria
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has called for the continuation of ceasefire in Syria and acceleration of political negotiations to end a foreign-backed war that has gripped the Arab country for over five years.
“Concurrent with the ceasefire, political negotiations should speed up and it should be noted that this truce and political negotiations should not disrupt the relentless campaign against terrorists and terrorist groups in Syria,” Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
He added that cooperation and consultation among Iran and Russia would play a leading role in consolidating peace and stability in Syria.
“Only the Syrian people can decide about Syria and the future of the country’s political system,” Rouhani said.
He hailed the Syrian government forces’ recapture of the ancient city of Palmyra from the Daesh terrorist group, saying it indicates that the Syrian army and people have become stronger.
Following four weeks of military operations against Daesh, Syrian forces, backed by popular defense groups and Russian air cover, wrested back control of Palmyra in the western province of Homs on Sunday.
The Iranian president said protecting borders and blocking the flow of arms and terrorist recruits into Syria as well as preventing terrorists from participating in Syria peace talks under the aegis of the opposition are “undeniable necessities.”
Delegations representing the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition groups have recently been holding UN-brokered indirect peace talks. Damascus says the talks have hit an impasse on several occasions due to obstructionist measures by the Syrian opposition.
The ceasefire in Syria went into effect on February 27. Russia and the United States mediated the truce agreement.
Putin, for his part, briefed Rouhani on the latest talks between Russia and the US on Syria and said all efforts are aimed at settling the crisis in the Arab country through peaceful approaches while Tehran and Moscow have full coordination in this regard.
He added that terrorists should not be allowed to join the opposition during political talks on Syria.