Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned against plots to disintegrate regional states in talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling for enhanced cooperation to eliminate such security concerns.
The region is today witnessing “plots to partition [regional states] and attempts to establish puppet governments, and we must make efforts to resolve these security concerns through all-out cooperation,” Rouhani told Erdogan in a phone conversation on Monday.
During the talks, the two presidents exchanged views on the latest developments in the region, including the Syria situation.
Rouhani said that fighting terrorism, cleansing Syria of terrorists and countering separatist moves in the region are among the common objectives of Iran and Turkey, calling for deeper mutual cooperation in line with implementing agreements reached in Astana, Kazakhstan,
“We should not allow terrorist groups to regain strength and find the opportunity to resurface in the region,” said Rouhani.
Stressing the need for upholding Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Rouhani said security and stability should be restored to the country as soon as possible and all Syrian refugees should have the chance to return home.
Rouhani added that the talks being mediated by Iran, Russia and Turkey between Syria’s warring sides in Astana have been promising in promoting peace, stability and security in the Arab country, stressing that “this positive trend” should continue through further consultations.
Erdogan, for his part, briefed Rouhani on Turkey’s month-long military operation against US-backed Kurdish militants in Syria’s northeastern district of Afrin.
Tehran is opposed to the Afrin operation and believes it could fuel tensions in the already troubled Arab country.
He said all regions in Syria should be purged from terrorists and all countries need to respect Syria’s territorial integrity.
The Turkish leader praised Iran’s support for Turkey in regional and international issues and fighting terrorism, underlining the need for Iran, Turkey and Russia to continue talks on the Syria crisis.
Russia, Iran, and Turkey have been organizing peace talks for Syria in Astana since January 2017. Together, the three countries have been acting as guarantor states for the peace process.
Iran and Russia are allies of the Syrian government, while Turkey supports several anti-Damascus armed groups.
Meanwhile, Russia’s TASS state news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Monday that preparations are underway for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish and Iranian counterparts to discuss Syria in a summit meeting in Turkey in April.
The three countries’ foreign ministers are due to meet in Kazakhstan in two weeks to prepare the ground for an Istanbul summit on Syria, according to Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.