MOSCOW – Trilateral cooperation between Russia, Iran, and Turkey is the most effective way to settle the Syrian crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, adding that Moscow, Teheran, and Ankara have drafted a document aiming to resolve the crisis.
Russia’s foreign minister held a meeting in Moscow with his counterparts, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu of Turkey and Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, in Moscow on Tuesday.
“The most effective format is the one that you are witnessing today. This is not an attempt to cast a shadow on the attempts of our partners; this is just statement of a fact,” Lavrov said at a briefing after the meeting.
By comparison, Lavrov mentioned that other formats for settling the Syrian crisis, such as the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), had called for a number of actions to be taken simultaneously, including ceasing hostilities, allowing passage of humanitarian aid, and initiating a political process that involves all parties to the Syrian conflict.
“Unfortunately, the group failed to play its role to force all parties to fulfill all obligations. Our colleagues tried to show the activity in May …, but then the activity disappeared,” Lavrov pointed out, while noting that “the Russia-Iran-Turkey ‘troika’ has proven with actual deeds that it is in demand.”
“Russia, Iran, and Turkey have been recently taking coordinated steps that have allowed for the safe evacuation of the majority of the civilian population from eastern Aleppo with support of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization,” Lavrov said.
He added that the evacuation will soon be complete – “a matter of one-two days maximum.”
Russia’s foreign minister said that Moscow, Teheran, and Ankara have come up with a document that aims to improve the situation in war-torn Syria.
These measures are intended to help bring about “the revival of the political process to end the Syrian conflict,” he said.
“The document confirms respect for the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Syria,” Lavrov said.
The ceasefire should be implemented in all parts of Syria, Lavrov’s Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said at the conference.
“Today we are talking about the ceasefire, and the ceasefire should be in all Syria,” he said, adding this shouldn’t apply to attacks on terrorist groups such as Islamic State or Al-Nusra Front (now rebranded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham).
Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif said that the three countries should join forces in fighting Islamic State, Al-Nusra Front, and other groups affiliated with them.
“We should also separate these groups from other formations in Syria. This is the first, very important and necessary step in creating the conditions for a permanent ceasefire in Syria,” he said.