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Iran FM: Intra-Syrian talks only way to find political solution to Syria’s crisis

Iran’s foreign minister says promotion of negotiations among all Syrian groups is the only way to find a political solution to Syria’s crisis.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a Sunday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, who is in Iran heading a delegation.

During the Monday talks, Iran’s top diplomat emphasized the need for the continuation of cooperation between Iran and Russia within the framework of talks held in the Kazakh capital, Astana, to resolve the crisis in Syria.

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi announced on November 4 that his country is set to host a fresh round of talks between the Syrian government and the opposition aimed at ending the years-long crisis.

The top Kazakh diplomat added that the meeting would bring together the guarantors of the Astana process namely Iran, Russia and Turkey.

This would be the 17th round of talks between the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition in Kazakhstan.

The 16th international high-level meeting on Syria, which took place in the Kazakh capital in July, involved delegations of the guarantor countries, the Syrian government and the armed opposition.

The talks are moderated by Russia and Iran – as allies of the Syrian government – and Turkey, which sides with the opposition. The trio, in the earlier round of talks, agreed on the establishment of a mechanism to support the truce, underlined the importance of maintaining the national sovereignty of Syria, and stressed that there was no military solution to the conflict in the Arab country.

The Astana negotiations, which were also attended by the UN special envoy on Syria, had focused mainly on bolstering a Syria-wide ceasefire that has been in place since December 30, 2016.

At Damascus’ request, Iran has been providing military advisory support to the Syrian military in its counterterrorism operations. Russia has been carrying out an aerial campaign in Syria, similarly in coordination with Damascus, since September 2015 to further boost the military’s anti-terror performance.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir-Abdollahian pointed out that promotion of intra-Syrian talks is the only path to find a political solution to the country’s crisis. He added that Iran and Russia have had a “quite successful” experience of cooperation in Syria upon the demand and will of the Arab country’s government.

The Iranian foreign minister also stressed the need to use the successful experience of joint cooperation between Tehran and Moscow in the fight against terrorism in Syria in other areas. He noted that the same model of cooperation should be used to help both countries play an effective role in economic fields, such as reconstruction of Syria, and to help restore stability to the war-ravaged country.

Lavrentiev, who is in Tehran after talks with Syrian officials in Damascus, highlighted the significance of exchanging delegations between Iran and Russia to discuss issues of common interests as well as bilateral and multilateral developments.

In recent years, the United States has been maintaining an illegal military presence on the Syrian soil, collaborating with militants against Syria’s legitimate government, stealing the country’s crude oil resources, bombing the positions of the Syrian army, and anti-terror popular forces, all the while imposing crippling sanctions on Damascus. Some regional countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have also provided the militants with arms and financial support to overthrow the Syrian government.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions more displaced since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in 2011.

Iran, Russia diplomats discuss ‘political solution’ to Syria crisis

In another meeting between Lavrentiev and Ali Asghar Khaji, a senior advisor to the Iranian foreign minister, on Sunday, the two senior diplomats discussed the importance of seeking a political solution to the crisis in the Arab country. During the meeting, the two sides stressed the importance of formulating a political solution within the framework of agreements reached during talks in Astana.

The combined photo shows Ali Asghar Khaji (L), a senior advisor to the Iranian foreign minister, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev.

Both Khaji and Lavrentiev stressed the need for the continuation of intra-Syrian talks within the framework of the Syria’s constitution committee.

The Iranian official pointed to the joint Iran-Russia fight against terrorism in Syria and said Tehran and Moscow should maintain close cooperation to preserve Syria’s national sovereignty, implement reconstruction projects in the war-ravaged country and help it promote stability.

Lavrentiev, for his part, stressed the importance of settling the crisis through political approaches and promoting intra-Syrian talks. He voiced Moscow’s readiness to hold more joint meetings in line with Astana format.

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