Zarif hails efforts to reduce hostilities in Syria

IRNA – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that efforts by Tehran, Moscow and Ankara have successfully scaled down hostilities in Syria in spite of the existing problems in Eastern Ghouta.

According to the Kazakh international news agency, Kazinform, Zarif made the remarks in a meeting attended by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Sergei Lavrov, his respective Turkish and Russian counterparts.

‘We have managed to mitigate the situation by solving some humanitarian issues despite the problems in Eastern Ghouta. Civilians in Syria managed to get protection. Yesterday we started work to build confidence between the parties,’ Zarif said.

Iran’s top diplomat also reiterated the particular importance of the Astana platform in the formation of political ways and approaches in the settlement of the crisis in Syria.

Addressing the same gathering, Lavrov said ‘Astana has launched a process that is recognized by all. The main thing is that the Astana platform stimulated efforts in all directions within the framework of the Syrian settlement. It is the fight against terrorists and the establishment of de-escalation zones, where the cessation of hostilities has significantly reduced violence.’

‘In addition, it is a more effective solution to humanitarian issues,’ Lavrov added.

The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also underlined the effectiveness of the Astana process and expressed his commitment to that format of negotiations.

‘It’s been a little over a year since the beginning of the Astana talks, and we have managed to ensure great achievements and progress in this process. We would like to maintain such dynamics that is peculiar to the Astana platform. We were able to get a new impetus to advance this process,’ the Turkish Foreign Minister said.

Çavuşoğlu also stressed the need to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

The new round of Syria peace talks brokered by Iran, Russia, and Turkey started in Kazakhstan’s capital on Friday (March 16).

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

The three countries are considered as guarantor states for the peace process.