Zarif attends new round of Syria peace talks in Astana

March 17, The Iran Project – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif left Baku for Kazakhstan on Thursday (March 15) to participate in the Iran-Russia-Turkey trilateral meeting over settling Syria crisis.

During his stay in Astana, Zarif addressed the trilateral meeting and held separate meeting with Kazakh counterpart Kairat Abdrakhmanov.

Besides, foreign Ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey  held talks with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, discussing Syria peace talks in Astana and the importance of continuing it.

The new round of Syria peace talks brokered by Iran, Russia, and Turkey started in Kazakhstan’s capital on Friday attended by Zarif and his Turkish and Russian counterparts Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Sergei Lavrov respectively.

Addressing the gathering, Zarif said that Astana peace talks has brought about great achievements for quelling crisis in this Arab country, calling for solving crisis in Syria without foreign pressure.

“Since the start of Syria peace talks in the past 14 months, the meetings have been held at the ministerial level,” Zarif said, adding that the summit would be convened in the near future aimed at evaluating the achievements of the gatherings.

Zarif went on to say that the committee of the detainees, kidnapped and the identification of missing persons and delivery of dead bodies were also established in Astana.

Moreover, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that, “Those who seek Syria’s dismemberment and the creation of favorable conditions for geopolitical games are attempting to negate the role of the Astana Syrian peace process.”

Finally in a joint statement issued after the meeting, Tehran, Moscow and Ankara “reaffirmed their strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty and independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic.”

They also expressed satisfaction with the “concrete contribution of the Astana process to improvement of the situation in Syria during the last year, calling for continued “coordinated efforts” to make sure the reduction in violence in Syria would be “irreversible.”

The guarantor states further “reiterated their conviction that there was no military solution to the Syrian conflict.”

The meeting is expected to lay ground for a summit involving the presidents of the three countries in Istanbul on April 4.

The Astana peace talks started in January 2017 with the mediation of Russia and Iran, two Syria’s allies, as well as Turkey.

Meanwhile, during the bilateral meeting, the foreign ministers of Iran and Kazakhstan emphasized the implementation of bilateral agreements between the two countries, particularly in the fields of energy, transit, joint ventures and trade exchanges.

Other issues discussed at the meeting were facilitating the issuance of visas for economic activists of the two countries, removing barriers to banking cooperation, and paving the way for Kazakh companies willing to invest in transportation sectors in Iran.

Foreign ministers of Iran and Kazakhstan also exchanged views on the most important regional and international issues.

On March 16, Zarif arrived in Tehran after a two-day tour to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.