Iran offers help in Turkey-Syria jet downing row
TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. REUTERS Photo
Iran today offered to use its good ties with Damascus and Ankara to help resolve the row between the two countries over Syria's downing of a Turkish warplane.
Syria's shooting down of the jet last Friday was "a very sensitive issue" that also concerns Tehran, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said, just ahead of an emergency NATO meeting on the incident.
"We will use our good relationship with the two countries to resolve the issue," Ramin Mehmanparast said in his weekly news briefing.
He hoped "key players in the region" would be able to contain the incident and prevent other countries from being dragged in.
"It should be resolved through restraint and negotiations and (the two sides) should avoid measures that disturb the security of the region," he said. "We hope this issue will be resolved rapidly." Syrian air defences brought down a Turkish F-4 Phantom fighter over the eastern Mediterranean. Damascus insists the jet was fired on inside its territory and called the flight "a gross violation of Syrian sovereignty." But Turkey, while admitting the plane had "briefly" flown through Syrian territory, has called the downing a "hostile act of the highest order" and called an emergency NATO meeting on Tuesday to discuss it.