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MOSCOW, January 17. /ITAR-TASS World Service/. Less than a week before the opening of the Geneva II conference in the town of Montreux, Switzerland, the Foreign Ministers of Iran and Syria, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Walid Muallem, arrived in Moscow on Thursday for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The positions of the three countries on the Syrian crisis largely coincide, especially on that there is no alternative to its resolution by political and diplomatic methods, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper emphasizes. In the view of Moscow, all the forces that have influence on the course of events in Syria should participate in the forum. Among them, there is Iran, the participation of which is still up in the air.
Russian President Vladimir Putin received the Iranian foreign minister on Thursday. By coincidence, the newspaper writes, a few hours before the meeting, Putin spoke of Russian-Iranian co-operation at a ceremony of the presentation of credentials by foreign ambassadors in the Kremlin. Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Sanaei was among them.
“Our relations with Iran are getting to a new level, we conduct a fruitful dialogue with President Hassan Rouhani and members of the Iranian government on the further expansion of bilateral co-operation, as well as on the situation in Syria, on Afghanistan and Iran’s nuclear program,” the Russian president said. He added, “The potential of mutually beneficial Russian- Iranian ties is really great and far from being exhausted.”
In particular, Iran is ready to make joint investment with Russia in oil and natural gas fields, to import and export oil equipment and implement economic agreements previously reached between the two countries, the newspaper continues. Sanaei made this statement on Thursday. However, Zarif said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 news TV channel on Thursday that oil agreements had not been considered at the current Moscow negotiations. “As for my visit, we certainly discuss other topics ... This is not an issue to be discussed during this visit,” he said.
The Iranian minister is not very optimistic regarding Tehran’s participation in the Geneva II conference on Syria, believes Nezavisimaya Gazeta. He said that Iranian officials would not attend the forum if preconditions for their participation were set. “We accept no preconditions for the participation in Geneva II, based on the sense of dignity and honor of our country,” Zarif warned.
Zarif wonders why the United States as one of the initiators of the Geneva II conference demands that Tehran literally put its signature under the Geneva communiqué. Only after that, Washington could agree to the presence of Iran at the forum.
“The preparation for the Geneva II international conference on Syria, which will begin on January 22, has entered the final straight, the government’s Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper emphasizes. “While Moscow and Tehran continue to maintain an almost Olympian calm, Washington and Syrian rebels are getting more expressively nervous.”
Zarif said that he had discussed in Moscow issues related to the construction of nuclear power plants and reactors in his country: “We are neighbors and have a very long-standing relationship, so our relationship is much more extensive than those issues of which the news media are making a fuss.
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