The foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia and Iran have met in the Kazakh capital Astana and issued a joint statement which emphasised the territorial integrity of Syria.
“Those who, in violation of all norms of international law, in violation of Resolution 2254, obviously seek to divide Syria, to replace the regime so that this important Middle Eastern country is replaced by small principalities, controlled by external players, certainly do not welcome what we are doing in Astana, we are trying to achieve in Astana,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a speech before the talks with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts in Astana.
In an interview with Kazah’s media, Lavrov added: “I do not think that we should even talk about a potential partition of Syria, but it is our duty to demand that these plans be immediately foiled, some bear it.”
“US, French, UK special forces are ‘on the ground’ in Syria. So it is not a ‘proxy war’ anymore, but direct engagement in the warfare.”
From his side, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu “underlined the need to differ terrorists from civilians,” especially in places where civilians live densely.
“We are also against the going of all terrorists to Idlib [in northwestern Syria]. There, they constitute a threat to the people, opposition and to all of us,” Cavusoglu stressed.
Another summit will be held in Istanbul on April 4.
Astana talks were launched by Russia, Turkey and Iran in January 2017 with the aim of putting an end to the war in Syria, as well as coordinate the exchange of prisoners and the handover of the those killed in the war.