TEHRAN, April 22. /TASS/. The Iranian, Russian and Turkish foreign ministers, Javad Zarif, Sergey Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu, have confirmed plans to hold the next round of talks on the Syrian settlement in the Astana format on Iran’s soil, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s press service said.
"The ministers highlighted the need to continue consultations and coordination at the highest level between three countries, stressing that the Astana process is the most important and effective way of ironing out the Syrian crisis," the statement reads.
The statement says that "the sides have confirmed plans to hold the sixth round of talks between the leaders of the Astana process guarantor states in Iran as soon as the situation with the coronavirus normalizes."
The politicians also discussed "the latest events in Syria and in the region <...>, the situation in Idlib, the Constitutional Committee and the need to cancel unilateral sanctions." "The sides emphasized the need to boost control of the government [in Damascus] over the entire Syrian territory and continue the war on terror," the press service said.
Respect for Syrian sovereignty, territorial integrity
They confirmed unconditional respect for Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity during the teleconference Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the trilateral teleconference.
"The ministers confirmed adherence of Russia, Iran and Turkey to unconditional respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2254," the ministry said.
Separation of terrorists from moderate opposition in Idlib
Russia, Turkey, and Iran agreed to continue attempts to separate terrorists from moderate opposition in Syria’s Idlib province, the Russian Foreign Ministry informed.
"During the discussion of the situation in Idlib, the sides noted that implementation of the March 5 Russian-Turkish protocol allowed achieving important results on de-escalation, despite attempts of illegal armed groups of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham [former Nusra Front] to prevent this," the ministry commented. "The sides noted importance of further efforts on separation of moderate opposition from terrorists in the Idlib area."
They underscored the leading role of the Astana format in promotion of all components of the Syrian settlement, including stabilization of the situation on the ground and facilitation to the settlement of humanitarian problems of the civilian population and to the intra-Syrian dialogue within the Constitutional Commitee in Geneva.
Also during their Wednesday teleconference, the ministers called on international organizations to ramp up humanitarian assistance to Syrian civilian population amid the coronavirus pandemic. "The ministers agreed with the necessity to ramp up the international organizations’ activity on provision of humanitarian assistance to Syrian civilian population amid the coronavirus infection spread. In this regard, the statement of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called for softening and suspension of sanctions that undermine Syria’s ability to fight the epidemic, is highly important," according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Meeting of Constitutional Committee's Editorial Commission
The sides also welcomed the agreement between the Syrian government and the opposition on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the Constitutional Committee's Editorial Commission. As the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on this score, the Astana Three hopes that the meeting will take place "in cooperation with the UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen in accordance with his mandate."
The three-way ministerial meeting was held in the format of a teleconference.
The latest round of negotiations between Russia, Turkey and Iran in the Astana format took place on December 10-11, 2019, in Kazakhstan’s capital of Nur-Sultan. The next meeting was scheduled for March 2020. In early April, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousawi said that before the coronavirus pandemic the consultations had been expected to be held in Iran.