Russia, Iran, Syria and Turkey start meetings in Moscow to normalise Damascus-Ankara relations

Mohamed Hatem , Ahram Online , Monday 3 Apr 2023

A series of bilateral consultations were held in Moscow on Monday in preparation for a meeting on Tuesday between the deputy foreign ministers from Russia, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

Iran-Syria bilateral talks - Moscow
Sousan first hold bilateral meetings with Ali Asghar Khaji, a senior advisor to the Iranian foreign minister to discuss and go over aspects related to the preparations for the four-party meeting. Photo courtesy of Iranian news agency IRNA


The Syrian delegation, which arrived in the Russian capital on Sunday, is headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Ayman Sousan, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.

Sousan’s first bilateral meeting was with Ali Asghar Khaji, a senior advisor to the Iranian foreign minister.

Sousan stressed the need to end Turkey’s military presence in the Arab country, as well as the importance of the fight against terrorism and non-interference in Syria's internal affairs by other countries.

​Both sides expressed their shared views on the need to respect Syria's sovereignty and safeguard its territorial integrity, by ending Turkey's continued illegal presence on Syrian soil, SANA reported.

The Syrian team held also bilateral discussions with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.

The Russian official reaffirmed that his country will continue working to ensure respect for Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Last Monday, Bogdanov said the planned multilateral meeting is a major step to help normalise ties between Ankara and Damascus.

“We are getting ready [for a meeting]. I think that [it will be held] soon. We are hoping,” Bogdanov told Russia’s TASS news agency.

“We are hoping that our mediating mission, which is directed at a very important strategic goal – the normalisation of Syrian-Turkish relations – will result in our shared success,” he added.

The negotiations, which will stretch out over two days, “are expected to be a continuation of the ministerial-level meetings that began during the normalisation process” promoted by Russia, said Ankara.

Turkey severed its relations with the Syrian government in March 2012, a year after the Arab country found itself in the grip of a deadly anti-government insurgency. Turkey has since provided support to the anti-government forces and occupied parts of northern Syria.

In December 2022, Russia hosted the first talks between the Turkish and Syrian defense ministers 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 normalise ties between the two sides.

But Assad ruled out any meeting with Erdogan until Turkey is ready to withdraw its military from northern Syria.

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