February 15, The Iran Project – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani traveled to Russia’s resort city of Sochi Thursday (Feb. 14) to attend the fourth trilateral Iran-Russia-Turkey summit on Syria.
The day-long summit with the participation of Iranian, Russian and Turkish presidents, hosted by President Putin, aimed to concentrate on the joint counter-terrorism measures in the region, the restoration of tranquility, the return of the refugees and the settlement of political stability in Syria and cooperation in reconstructing the crisis-stricken country.
Prior to the summit, President Rouhani held separate meetings with Turkish and Russian counterparts to discuss regional and international as well as bilateral issues.
In a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, President Rouhani referred to Iran and Turkey determination to fight terrorism and cooperate in this issue and said, “Unfortunately, terrorist groups in the region are being supported by foreign powers, especially the United States for years,” noting that, “We hope that the obstacles on the way of implementing other agreements between the two countries would be removed”.
Iran is ready to develop relations with Turkey in energy, industry, and transportation, said Rouhani, adding, “It is essential that the authorities of the joint commission of cooperation accelerate the process of implementing these agreements.”
During a meeting, Rouhani told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that trade exchanges in national currencies of both sides serve as a big step towards expansion of economic relations.
He said Iran-Russia-Turkey cooperation on Syria has had good achievements and remaining steps like making endeavors to protect the territorial integrity of the country and taking necessary political procedures should be taken through coordination.
The Iranian president went on to point to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and said the Islamic Republic of Iran has been acting on its JCPOA commitments and other parties are also committed to act on their duties, adding, “If both sides want consolidation of the JCPOA, one-sided fulfillment of the commitments will not get us to the goal.”
Putin for his part emphasized that Russia powerfully supports maintaining the JCPOA saying that no evidence has been found to substantiate the claim that Iran has been violating its commitments. We thank Iran for cooperation within the framework of commitments and we hope that the sides will act on their liabilities.’
Putin also referred to Sochi summit and said he was thankful of Iran for its part in settling problems in Syria and said he believed mutual cooperation on bilateral framework and Astana process have had very major achievements and other remaining issues too should be solved in the same way.
Speaking on Thursday evening at Tripartite Summit of Presidents of Iran, Russia, and Turkey, President Rouhani emphasized five axes for the restoration of security and stability to Syria and described the continuation of combatting all terrorist groups in Syria until their uprooting essential.
“Independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, and non-interference in Syria’s internal affairs must be respected in any circumstances,” he added.
At the end of the Sochi meeting on Syria, presidents of Iran, Russia, and Turkey issued a joint statement, stressing strong commitment to sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.
The three presidents highlighted that these principles should be universally respected and that no actions, no matter by whom they were undertaken, should undermine them.
They also rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism and expressed their determination to stand against any effort aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the national security of neighboring countries.
They added that the US decision for the withdrawal of its forces from Syria if implemented, would help strengthen stability and security in the country in compliance with the above-mentioned principles.
The presidents of Iran, Russia, and Turkey also decided to hold their next tripartite summit in Turkey upon the invitation of President Erdogan.
Over the past years, Iran and Russia have been respectively lending military advisory support and aerial backup for the Syrian military in its battle against militants and Takfiri terrorists. The foreign-backed groups started a campaign of bloodshed and destruction against the Arab country in 2011.
The three countries, known as the guarantor states of a ceasefire regime in Syria, have been mediating peace negotiations between representatives from the Damascus government and opposition groups in a series of talks held in the Kazakh capital of Astana and other places since January 2017.