Astana partners discuss Syria’s Idlib in teleconference
Top diplomats from Turkey, Iran and Russia held a teleconference on April 22 and discussed developments in Syria, particularly in Idlib province and the east of River Euphrates amid growing concerns for the future of a fragile ceasefire in the former.
The teleconference brought Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif together at the seventh Foreign Ministerial Meeting of Astana Process.
“Discussed fight against COVID19 pandemic in the context of Syria. Reviewed recent developments particularly in Idlib and East of Euphrates, political process, humanitarian situation and return of refugees,” said Turkish Minister Çavuşoğlu on Twitter after the meeting.
The meeting follows intense diplomatic traffic between the three Astana partners at the presidential level. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged a phone conversation late April 21 with a special emphasis on Syria.
A readout from Kremlin informed that the two presidents reviewed recent developments in Syria, including the implementation of agreements on the Idlib de-escalation zone. “The need for unconditional compliance with the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic was reaffirmed. At the same time, the presidents emphasized the importance of further close cooperation between Russia and Turkey through military and diplomatic channels,” it read.
Turkey and Russia signed a deal on March 5 for the cessation of activities in Idlib after heavy clashes between Turkey and Syrian regime forces. Although the ceasefire still holds, Turkey has complaint about fresh military deployments by the Syrian regime in the enclave.
Russian President Putin also talked to Iranian President Hasan Rouhani a day after Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif paid a visit to Damascus where he had talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A summit under the Astana Process format at the presidential level had to be postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus.