TASS– Russian, Iranian and Turkish foreign ministers, Sergey Lavrov, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mevlut Cavusoglu, will hold an extraordinary meeting in Moscow on Saturday.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the sides would consider the developments in Syria and discuss possible new joint moves that would help advance intra-Syrian contacts in the framework of UN Security Council’s Resolution 2254 and taking into account the decisions of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi.
The ministers are expected to synchronize watches ahead of another round of talks on Syria in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana due in mid-May. On Friday, Russian president’s special envoy for the Middle East and African countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said the sides would adopt a document outlining the three countries’ position on continuing joint coordinated efforts in the Astana format.
The talks in Moscow will become the first meeting between the Russian, Iranian and Turkish foreign ministers after the April 14 missile strikes on Syria carried out by the United States, the United Kingdom and France.
Vitaly Naumkin, Academic Director at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, told TASS one of the goals of the Western aggression was to drive a wedge between the Astana process guarantors – Russia, Turkey and Iran. While Moscow and Tehran condemned the aggression against Syria, Ankara welcomed the strikes calling them “a positive step,” he noted.
Special focus will be on the humanitarian situation in Syria, including within the context of implementing the provisions of UN Security Council’s Resolution 2401 (on establishing a ceasefire to render assistance – TASS), Zakharova said. “We are confident that a more active role of humanitarian agencies could facilitate its implementation, but rendering assistance to the Syrian people must not be pegged to the achievement of certain political goals,” the diplomat added.
On the sidelines of the trilateral talks, the Russian foreign minister is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts. According to Zakharova, Lavrov and Zarif plan to discuss a broad range of issues of bilateral relations, including political cooperation, trade and economic and humanitarian ties in the context of implementing the agreements between Russian and Iranian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani. The sides also will exchange views on the situation around the fulfillment of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program.
Recently, tensions mounted around the Iran nuclear deal. French President Emmanuel Macron said during his visit to the United States that France was ready to work with Washington on a new agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. US President Donald Trump again called JCPOA “a terrible deal,” which should have never been made.
The top Iranian diplomat said revising the nuclear deal would be tantamount to opening a Pandora’s box. He stressed that the deal was the entire package. “You cannot pick and choose between the package and say, “I want this, that and the other element improved.” Had it been possible to improve that, either from your perspective or from our perspective or from the perspective of any other participants in the deal, it would have been done so.”
Moscow voiced concerns over the statements of the US and French presidents. Zakharova stressed that Russia saw no possibilities for the so-called ‘re-voting’ on this document. The agreement is a balanced mechanism, which takes into account the interests of all the parties, the Russian diplomat stressed. “The destruction of the fragile balance of interests, which is set forth in this document [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action under the Iranian nuclear program], will lead to serious consequences for international security and the non-proliferation regime,” she said.