Iran, Russia, Syria Reinforce Anti-Terror Cooperation

The trio called on the US and its allies to respect Syria’s sovereignty and refrain from acts of aggression against the Arab country, which have serious ramifications for global security
Foreign ministers Sergey Lavrov of Russia is flanked by Walid al-Muallem (L) of Syria and Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran during a news conference in Moscow on April 14.Foreign ministers Sergey Lavrov of Russia is flanked by Walid al-Muallem (L) of Syria and Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran during a news conference in Moscow on April 14.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian and Syrian counterparts, Sergey Lavrov and Walid al-Muallem respectively, held a coordination meeting on Friday.

According to Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi, the meeting in Moscow was to focus on the latest developments in Syria, efforts to resolve the six-year conflict there and the three countries' anti-terror cooperation. Prior to the meeting, the three foreign ministers held separate bilateral talks, ISNA reported.

The trio was meeting after an April 4 chemical incident in Syria's Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Governorate and the subsequent US strike at an airbase in Homs Governorate.

The US said its strike was in response to what it believed was a chemical attack by the Syrian government against its own people in Idlib.

It came despite the Syrian Army denied using chemical weapons and said the Idlib incident, which left dozens of gas-poisoned people dead, happened after a Syrian warplane hit an unknown cache of chemical agents held by foreign-backed militants.

Iran was quick to condemn the US strike, while calling for an international probe by impartial countries into the Khan Sheikhoun incident.

The attack also prompted an angry response from Russia and the Kremlin said in a statement it would "inflict major damage on US-Russia ties".

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Moscow on Wednesday, discussing the US attack with Putin and Lavrov.

  US Warned Against Future Attacks

In a joint press conference after the meeting, Zarif said Washington's unilateral steps on the international arena are unacceptable.

"It is very important that everyone understands that unilateral US steps in the international community are already unacceptable," TASS reported Zarif as saying.

"We are still suffering from the results of those unilateral steps, which were taken over the past decades."

Lavrov said the US attack was an act of aggression aimed at undermining the peace process, asking the US not to repeat such mistakes.

"We have reiterated our position and were united in stating that the attack was an act of aggression, which blatantly violated the principles of international law and the UN Charter," he said.

"We call on the US and its allies to respect Syria's sovereignty and refrain from actions similar to what happened on April 7, which have serious ramifications not only for regional, but also for global security," he said.

Muallem said the three countries will continue the joint fight against terrorism in Syria.

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