Quadripartite meeting of Syria, Russia, Iran and Turkey begins in Moscow

Ahram Online , Tuesday 4 Apr 2023

The quadripartite meeting of the assistant foreign ministers of Syria, Russia, Iran and Turkey kicked off in Moscow on Tuesday, aiming at overcoming obstacles that are hindering the normalization of relations between Ankara and Damascus.



The Syrian delegation, headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Ayman Sousan, will focus in the meeting on three main points: “the need to end the illegal Turkish presence on Syrian territory, non-interference in the Syrian internal affairs, and combating terrorism in all its forms,” according to Syrian official news agency, SANA 

A series of bilateral consultations took place in Moscow on Monday in preparation for the quadripartite meeting held at the level of Deputy foreign ministers, in anticipation of a potential meeting of Foreign Ministers

The Syrian delegation held separate talks with Mikhail Bogdanov, Special Representative of the Russian President and Deputy Russian Foreign Minister, and Ali Asghar Khaji, Senior Assistant to the Iranian Foreign Minister for Special Political Affairs.

Meanwhile, the Turkish delegation held separate talks with the Russian and Iranian delegations.

SANA reported that Moscow and Damascus were in agreement on “the need to respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and ending Türkiye's illegal deployment there.”

However, a Russian diplomatic source denied this report to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. 

“Claims that the two sides were in agreement over the illegal Turkish deployment in Syria are untrue,” it added.

Rather, the source stressed that the military presence there “is important because it is helping maintain calm, end the fighting between Syrians and focus the fight on terrorism.”

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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