Diplomatic Consultations in Tehran on Syria

Diplomatic Consultations in Tehran on SyriaDiplomatic Consultations in Tehran on Syria

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his deputy met separately with visiting Russian presidential envoy on Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov, on Monday as part of intensified cooperation between the two allies involved in the Syria war.

Zarif had discussed the issue with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in a phone conversation on Thursday.

Zarif's deputy for Arab and African affairs, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, told reporters after the meeting with Bogdanov that he plans to visit Russia and Turkey in the near future, ISNA reported.

Turkey stood on the opposite side of Syria's conflict and joined an alliance of some regional and western states that back armed insurgent groups fighting to dislodge Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is allied to Iran and Russia.   

Ankara has recently shown willingness for closer coordination with Moscow and Tehran to help push an international drive aimed at resolving the conflict in the Arab country through a diplomatic process.

"Turkey is an influential country in the region. We have been engaging in intensive talks with Turkish officials all during the Syria crisis," Ansari said.

"During Mr. Zarif's recent visit to Turkey, the two sides discussed the status quo. The two countries are in agreement on the outline of the solution to the conflict."

Countries involved in the Syria peace talks, known as the International Syria Support Group, agreed in a November meeting on a roadmap outlining a peace process that envisaged a ceasefire, talks between the Syrian government and opposition, and a roughly two-year timeline to establish a unity government and hold elections.

A "cessation of hostilities" brokered in February by the United States and Russia, which represent Assad's supporters and opponents respectively, has been strained to breaking point by frequent violations, which each side blames on the other.

Ansari denied speculations that the current developments are likely to ultimately lead to the formation of an exclusive alliance of Turkey, Syria and Russia in the region, a sensitive issue that other major international players might find disturbing.

"We believe that we need to seek to promote unanimity based on the agreed principles among all the countries that could play a role in addressing the crisis."