An agreement to involve Iran in the ongoing Turkish-Syrian normalization talks has been reached, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov revealed on January 31.
Lavrov said that Russia supported Turkey’s commitment to normalize relations with Syria and pledged further efforts to this end on the part of his country.
“Russia, Iran, and Turkey are members of the Astana troika, which has been handling the Syrian settlement. Therefore, I consider it absolutely logical that any further communication on bringing relations between Turkey and Syria back to normal will also involve Russia and Iran,” Lavrov said at a press conference following his talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
“As for the timeframes and specific formats of participation, be it at the military, diplomatic or any other level, they are currently being specified. We have a full understanding that it is necessary to move step by step, so that every step forward should yield specific, albeit minor, results,” the Russian foreign minister added.
Before the outbreak of the war in Syria more than a decade ago, Ankara and Damascus were close allies. Today however, the Turkish military occupies large parts of the country and supports the rebels there.
The Turkish-Syrian normalization talks gained momentum last December, when the defense ministers and intelligence chiefs of the two countries met in Moscow.
Russia has been the sole sponsor of the normalization talk. Some recent reports talked about an upcoming role by the United Arab Emirates, but it appears that Iran will be the next country to join the talks.
The decision to include Iran in the talks has been already welcomed by Ankara. Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman and an aid for the Turkish president, said that the involvement of Tehran, a key ally of Damascus, will make the normalization process easier.
“We are pleased that Iran is joining this process. Iran is an important side. I think it will be able to contribute to this process,” he said in comments broadcast by the TRT television channel.
“The participation of Iran in the negotiating process, which is held with the mediation of Russia, will make it easier. As part of this process, we are talking about ensuring the security of our borders, the neutralization of the terrorist threat with respect to our country, the return of Syrian refugees, a worthy and safe return,” Kalin continued.
Kalin said that a highly-anticipated meeting between Turkish and Syrian foreign ministers may take place during February. However, he didn’t clarify if the Iranian foreign minister will take part in the meeting, alongside Lavrov.
“So far, neither the place nor the date has been determined. Foreign ministers are working in this area. Maybe, it will take place this month, but there is no exact decision. However, we can expect that the meeting will take place within the next few weeks,” he said.
The foreign minister meeting could help set the ground for a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, later this year.
Ankara hopes that normalizing relations with Damascus will help it address the issue of Kurdish forces in Syria’s northern region. Tehran also sees these forces, which are allied with the United States, as a threat to influence in the Middle East. This explains its interests in joining the Turkish-Syrian normalization talks.
The post Iran To Join Turkish-Syrian Normalization Talks: Lavrov appeared first on South Front.
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