Russia-Iran-Turkey statement useful for resumption of Syria talks in Geneva – UN

Sputnik News– The UN special envoy for Syria welcomed the joint statement of Russia, Iran and Turkey on the war-torn country.

GENEVA (Sputnik) — The joint statement of Russia, Iran and Turkey on Syria is useful for the resumption of the intra-Syria talks in Geneva on February 8, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura told Sputnik on Wednesday. “I welcome the joint statement and find it helpful in promoting the resumption of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva on the 8 of February,” de Mistura said commenting on the statement issued by the sides following the talks in Moscow on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, foreign and defense ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey met in Moscow to discuss the situation in Syria, including Aleppo. The countries agreed on a joint statement on the revival of the political process to end the conflict in Syria. The document confirmed the respect of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria as a multiethnic, multi-religious, democratic and secular state. The ministers also noted the importance of extending the ceasefire and voiced their willingness to become guarantors of the forthcoming agreement between Damascus and the opposition.

The opposition and Damascus, along with the mediators, have been engaged in UN-brokered settlement talks. The last round of intra-Syrian talks took place in Geneva in April. The Syrian High Negotiations Committee opposition group walked out of the negotiations, citing the continuous fighting in Syria and the lack of progress on humanitarian issues. Since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a civil war, following the protests that had turned violent, as part of the so-called Arab Spring. Over the recent months, Aleppo became a major battleground in Syria.

On December 16, the Russian Defense Ministry’s center for Syrian reconciliation said that the Syrian army operation to liberate the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo was over, and that the Syrian government troops were eliminating separate hotbeds of militant resistance.