Iranian, Turkish top diplomats meet ahead of Tehran summit

Tasnim – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglua, held talks in Tehran ahead of a trilateral summit between the presidents of Iran, Russia, and Turkey on the protracted crisis in Syria.

“Visiting Tehran on the occasion of #Turkey-#Iran-#RussianFederation trilateral summit on Syria to be held tomorrow with the participation of President @RT_Erdogan,” Cavusoglua said on his Twitter account on Thursday.

“We had a meeting with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif upon our arrival,” the Turkish top diplomat added in his tweet.

The summit between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian and Turkish counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is slated be held in Tehran on Friday.

According to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi, the summit is not expected to resolve all issues surrounding the prolonged crisis in Syria but it can facilitate more steps to combat terrorism and restore tranquility to the Arab country.

In April, the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey – the three guarantor states of de-escalation zones in Syria – held a meeting in Ankara to discuss ways for peaceful settlement of the crisis in Syria.

The three countries have so far held several rounds of peace talks in Kazakhstan’s Astana and elsewhere to help end the conflict in Syria. The fourth round of those talks in May 2017 produced a memorandum of understanding on de-escalation zones in Syria, sharply reducing fighting in the country.

Diplomatic efforts to end fighting in Syria gained momentum in 2017 with the announcement of a ceasefire in the Arab country in early January.

According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.