GENEVA, August 23. /TASS/. Iran’s presence in Syria is at the invitation of the legitimate authorities, but there is room for work in this issue. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who took part in the negotiations between Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and US National Security Adviser John Bolton, informed TASS on Thursday.
"We treat Iran’s steps to furnish its own security and activities with great respect, specifically in Syria at the invitation of this country’s legitimate government. However, this does not mean that there are no prospects or room for further efforts in this sphere," the deputy foreign minister noted.
He added that the issue of Iran’s presence in Syria was discussed in the broader context of the Middle East and Syria. "We’ve got many inconsistencies with the Americans in this area," the senior Russian diplomat noted. "Our approaches are diametrically opposed in some cases, but here as well, an this is vital, there are grounds for continuing dialogue on Syria."
Ryabkov reiterated that Russia is working with Iran on Syria through the Astana format. "In the near future, new contacts will take place, including on the Geneva platform, which we regard as an important component of wider efforts. Sochi and Astana cannot replace Geneva, these are independent venues, and all these tracks complement one another. We presume that Tehran has similar views on it," the senior diplomat concluded.