Astana talks only successful initiative for peace in Syria: Iran’s Zarif

Tasnim – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is on an official visit to Turkey to participate in a trilateral meeting with his Russian and Turkish counterparts on the Syrian crisis, said the Astana peace process has been the only successful initiative for war-hit Syria.

Speaking to reporters upon his arrival in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Zarif pointed to negotiations held to resolve the protracted crisis in Syria and said in the first place, all should accept that the Syrian problem should be resolved through a political solution, which should be created by the people of the Arab country.

He added that the foreign governments should accelerate the process to reach such a solution, instead of making decisions for the Syrian people or drafting a new constitution for the country.

The top diplomat further pointed to the peace talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana and Russia’s Sochi initiated by Iran, Russia, and Turkey and said the negotiations have been the only successful initiative since the beginning of the Syrian crisis.

Zarif and his Russian and Turkish counterparts, Sergei Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu, plan to exchange views about the Syria peace process in Ankara on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey, the three guarantor countries of the de-escalation zones in Syria, plan to hold a trilateral summit in Ankara about the Syrian crisis.

As Iran, Russia and Turkey launched Syria peace talks in Astana, the three countries held a series of summits in Russia’s Black Sea city of Sochi to bring together the conflicting parties in Syria.

Within the framework of these efforts, they agreed in Astana to establish de-escalation zones in the northern province of Idlib and parts of neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo. Under the Astana agreement, Turkey is to gradually establish 12 observation points from Idlib’s north to south to monitor and sustain the current cease-fire agreement for the de-escalation zones, deliver humanitarian aid and ensure the secure return of displaced people.

The leaders of the three countries have been stressing that the de-escalation zones deal has been successful in ending clashes in various locations, however, a countrywide cease-fire to end the armed conflicts has not been achieved so far.

Prior to the trilateral summit on Syria, President Putin will arrive in Ankara on Tuesday to attend the seventh Turkish-Russian High-Level Cooperation Council (ÜDİK) meeting with the participation of ministers from both countries. The meeting will be co-chaired by Presidents Erdogan and Putin.