Russia to schedule consultations with Syria, Iran and Turkey

Ahram Online , Tuesday 21 Mar 2023

Russia is coordinating with Syria, Iran and Turkey to set a date for an upcoming meeting between the deputy foreign ministers of the four respective parties, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Mikhail Bogdanov
File photo: Russian deputy Foreign Minister and envoy to the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov. AFP


The talks were initially scheduled for March 15-16, but were postponed for technical reasons, according to Turkish television.

The purpose of the postponed meeting is to prepare for the upcoming talks between the foreign ministers of the four countries, which are aimed at resolving the long-standing crisis in Syria.

“We proceed from the fact that it should take place the sooner the better. But our colleagues, the Syrians, the Turks, and the Iranians have work schedules. While there is no specific date, we will continue to coordinate,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Turkey, a neighbour of Syria, has for more than a decade been the most important political and military backer of the Syrian opposition, and has sent its own troops into swathes of the country’s north.

In December 2022, Russia hosted what was considered the first talks between the Turkish and Syrian defense ministers to take place in 11 years.

Later, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he might meet his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad, as part of a process to normalize ties between the two sides.

“In politics, there are no permanent enemies,” Erdogan said.

Analysts say Moscow is trying to bridge the divide between its two allies united by a common "enemy" -- Kurdish forces in northern Syria, described as "terrorists" by Ankara.

After meeting his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian on 8 March, Cavusoglu said Iran wanted to join the talks between Turkey, Syria and Russia, and Ankara agreed.

In a rare visit abroad, al-Assad met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on 15 March. 

He said he will only meet Erdogan if Turkey withdraws troops from northern Syria, according to an iterview with Russian media.


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