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Iranian FM holds separate talks with Turkish, Russian counterparts on sidelines of Moscow meeting

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, have met and conferred on the sidelines of a four-party meeting of the foreign ministers of Turkey, Syria, Russia and Iran in Moscow.

The two diplomats held a closed-door meeting in the Russian capital on Wednesday and discussed “issues of mutual interest,” with reports saying the expansion of bilateral ties in the fields of trade, transit and tourism was on top of the agenda.

Amir-Abdollahian attached great importance to the quadrilateral meeting of the four countries’ foreign ministers with regard to the situation in Syria, saying the talks were “positive and a step forward,” adding, “We will continue our efforts to make these talks a success.”

The Iranian foreign minister also hailed cooperation between Tehran and Ankara in economic fields, including transportation, trade and tourism “as good, developing and progressing.”

Cavusoglu, for his part, pointed to the important role of the Islamic Republic of Iran in organizing the four-party meeting and thanked the “positive and constructive” positions of Tehran in this regard.

The Turkish foreign minister also appreciated Iran’s assistance and delivery of relief aid to the victims of the recent earthquake in the country.

At the meeting, the two diplomats exchanged views on efforts to normalize relations between Ankara and Damascus and discussed the fight against terrorism, political processes, and humanitarian matters, including the voluntary, safe, and dignified return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.

Earlier in the day, Amir-Abdollahian said at the quadrilateral meeting, aimed at reconciliation between Damascus and Ankara, that any political solution to issues related to Syria must take into consideration Syria’s full sovereignty over its territory, adding that Turkey can play a key role in this regard.

Syria-Turkey détente must lead to Damascus's sovereignty over its territory: FM

Amir-Abdollahian said Syria’s neighbors, especially Turkey, can cooperate with the Arab country so that it would be able to gain full control over its national sovereignty “because it will be in favor of Syria’s stability and security and is also in line with security and border stability of the neighboring countries.”

“We believe that a strong and independent Syria will be able to overcome terrorism, separatism, and the US forces’ occupation and plunder of the country’s national resources,” he added.

Turkey severed its relations with Syria in March 2012, a year after the Arab country found itself in the grip of rampant and deadly violence waged by foreign-backed militants, including those supported by Ankara.

The two neighboring countries are currently taking steps toward reconciliation after 11 years.

In the last bid to mend ties between Ankara and Damascus, defense ministers and intelligence chiefs of Russia, Syria, Turkey, and Iran met in Moscow late last month and discussed the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syria.

The process of normalizing ties between Ankara and Damascus kicked off on December 28, 2022, when the Russian, Syrian and Turkish defense ministers met in Moscow, in what was the highest-level meeting between the two sides since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in January that a rapprochement with Turkey would depend on Turkey ending its occupation of northern Syria and its support for militant groups fighting against the Damascus government.

FMs of Iran, Russia meet in Moscow

Also on Wednesday, Amir-Abdollahian and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov met and discussed ways of expanding relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation in all fields, especially in the economic and commercial fields.

The two top diplomats described as “positive” the growing trend of relations between Tehran and Moscow.

Amir-Abdollahian noted that efforts should be made to promote the progressing relations between the two countries, which he said were on the right track.

Expressing his satisfaction with the close cooperation between the two countries in the political settlement of the Syrian issue, the Iranian foreign minister said the four-party meeting in Moscow was a “positive outcome” of this collaboration.

Lavrov said holding a joint commission on economic cooperation in Tehran in the near future will be important in deepening the relations between the two countries, calling for the active presence of Iran’s commercial and economic sectors in the upcoming Russia-Islamic world international economic forum to be held in the city of Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan.

The two foreign ministers also stressed the development of the North-South transit corridor, financial and banking cooperation as well as the expansion of economic and commercial relations.

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