TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held separate meetings with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul on Saturday.
The meetings came ahead of a peace conference on Syria, which is scheduled to open in the Swiss town of Montreux on January 22.
During their meeting, Erdogan and Zarif emphasized that the two countries should take “joint steps” to help resolve the three-year-old crisis in Syria through peaceful means.
They also highlighted the necessity of strengthening bilateral ties and exchanged views on the latest developments in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.
In addition, Zarif discussed bilateral relations and regional issues including Syria and Iraq with his Turkish counterpart.
Expressing concerns over the escalating violence in Syria despite calls for ceasefire from both countries, Davutoglu said that Iran and Turkey are ready to stop the intensifying humanitarian crisis in Aleppo and alleviate Syria’s misery and pain, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
In addition, both ministers expressed concern over the recent developments in Iraq, including the seizure of some Iraqi towns by al-Qaeda-linked groups, and hoped for a peaceful period ahead of national elections on April 30 without ethnic and sectarian clashes.
Davutoglu also stated that Turkey welcomed the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, noting that Turkey supports peaceful initiatives to produce nuclear energy without a military agenda behind it.
Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) over Tehran’s nuclear program reached a landmark agreement in Geneva on November 24, 2014, according to which Iran agreed not to expand its nuclear program and to suspend its 20 percent uranium enrichment in return for a limited easing of the sanctions imposed on the country.
The agreement also stated that over the course of six months, Iran and the six countries of the 5+1 group will draw up a comprehensive nuclear deal which will lead to a lifting of the sanctions on Iran and Iran will provide the world verifiable guarantees that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.
According to Euronews, Davutoglu told a joint press conference with Zarif, “We are ready to do whatever it takes to bring an end to the suffering of the Syrian people, and the human tragedy that has been getting worse recently in Aleppo. In this regard, we have always been sincere in sharing our thoughts with Iran and we will continue to do so.”
The Iranian foreign minister said, “Our talks on Syria started, there are certain minute differences in terms of our positions but those differences will be eliminated once and for all through mutual understanding.”