Iranian, Turkish and Russian presidents hold talks on security situation in Syria

September 16, 2019

TEHRAN/ANKARA – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the host of this round of trilateral summit between Turkey, Iran and Russia, hosted President Hassan Rouhani and President Vladimir Putin in Ankara on Monday. It was the fifth summit since 2017.

They were set to speak to reporters at a closing news conference and release a joint declaration.

The three presidents held one-on-one talks before the summit.

In the Syrian war, Tehran and Moscow have been backing the central government. However, Turkey has been a supporter of the rebel groups. Now, the three countries, despite differences, agree on power-sharing in Syria.

Iran and Russia were instrumental in cracking down on terrorists, especially ISIS, in Syria. ISIS misused the chaos resulting from the armed conflict between the government and the opposition groups to create killing fields in the country.

According to Al-Jazeera, the Turkish presidency had said the summit was to focus on ensuring required conditions for voluntary return of refugees.

Erdogan said the summit will bring new dimensions to the Astana process for Syria. He said the Astana platform on Syria was a "unique attempt" to find effective solutions for Syria.
"We have to take more responsibility to ensure peace in Syria," he added.

Talking before the meeting of the three presidents, Rouhani also said cooperation among Iran, Russia, and Turkey, as the three guarantor states of the ceasefire regime in Syria, has promoted security in the war-ravaged country.

-------- Efforts to ‘normalize’ situation in Idlib

Russia and Turkey agree on measures to “normalize” the situation in the terrorist-infested northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.

“Together with Turkey’s president, we have outlined additional joint steps to neutralize the terrorists’ nests in Idlib and normalize the situation there and in the whole of Syria as a result,” Putin told a joint briefing with Erdogan, Press TV reported.

----------Rouhani: Tehran-Ankara ties amicable, strong, developing

In his separate meeting with Erdogan, Rouhani called relations between Iran and Turkey amicable, strong and developing in many fields, vowing to work to deepen ties.

After the meeting, the two presidents attended the meeting of the high-ranking delegations of Iran and Turkey during which Rouhani said, “Fortunately, relations between Iran and Turkey have always been close and brotherly, and the two governments and nations have stood by each other in different conditions”.

Appreciating the warm hospitality of the Turkish government and people, the Iranian president expressed hope that the visit would yield good results for both nations and the region, especially the people of Syria.

He went on to acknowledge the Turkish government’s clear stances against the United States’ unjust sanctions against Iran, saying, “Despite hardships, Iran and Turkey will continue their inclusive economic relations”.

He added, “Iran welcomes Turkish investors and private sector’s presence and participation in implementing common projects.”

The president said, “The holding of the 27th Joint Commission of Iran and Turkey Cooperation in the coming days is a very important opportunity to further develop these relations and cooperation”.

Rouhani also said Iran and Turkey share close views view in combatting terrorism. “Fortunately, good developments have been made in defense-related cooperation between the two countries. Therefore, Iran-Turkey cooperation in ensuring security in common borders and the region will improve further”.

“The pattern of Iran-Turkey trilateral cooperation with Russia in ensuring the security of the region could contribute to the development and stability of the region and the two nations through trilateral and multilateral economic cooperation with neighbors”.

“Guaranteeing the security of the Persian Gulf waterways, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz has always been important for Iran as the largest littoral state,” Rouhani said, adding that Iran considers itself responsible to ensure security of regional waterways.

In an indirect reference to the presence of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, the president said, “The security of regional waterways has to be protected only by its littoral states, and that the presence American forces and inviting other countries to be present in the region will only increase the existing problems and tensions.”

Rouhani also said attacks on Yemen is the result of miscalculation and misinformation by the U.S., saying, “We must all work to bring stability back to Yemen with the participation of the United Nations.”

Rouhani also pointed to cooperation between Iran and Turkey, as guarantors of the Astana process, which has made Syria more secure, saying, “We must help the Syrian government in fighting the remaining terrorists, especially in Idlib and east of Euphrates until the terrorists are eradicated from the region”.

At the same meeting, the Turkish president referred to the friendly and brotherly relations between Iran and Turkey, saying, “We are determined to continue the great steps taken in relations between the two countries”.

Erdogan added, “Trade cooperation between the two countries by using national currencies has grown significantly and this trend will continue”.

He also said, “America’s sanctions against Iran are unconstructive, and in view of the Turkish government, preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is an important symbol of the success of dialogue and diplomacy.”

“We hope that as a result of today’s summit and finalization of the previous summit’s agreements in Sochi stability and security will prevail in the region, especially in Idlib,” he concluded.

SP/PA

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