Zarif Hints at ‘Mediating’ between Ankara, Damascus
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received Wednesday in Ankara Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who briefed him on his meeting with Head of the Syrian regime Bashar Assad, hinting at Iran’s intention to restore ties between Damascus and Ankara.
Zarif’s meeting with Erdogan followed discussions with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, where the two sides focused on developments in Syria.
"I had a long discussion with Assad on Tuesday. I intend to bring to Erdogan the contents of our meeting," said Zarif during a joint press conference with Cavusoglu.
Iran seeks to see friendly ties prevail among the region countries, said Zarif, adding that Tehran didn’t interfere in the internal affairs of the region. He revealed his country’s aspiration to restore ties among all countries including Turkey and Syria.
The Iranian FM continued that he held talks with Russia and Turkey on the Syrian Constitutional Committee, as well as the with the UN.
He noted that the coming days will witness a fresh round of negotiations on April 25-26 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, within Astana process. Zarif expressed hope in achieving a new phase of cooperation with Russia and Turkey, with the participation of Syria and the UN.
Zarif also said Iran acknowledges Turkey's concerns about the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.
"We understand the concerns of Turkey about terrorist groups in Syria and we agree with them. The security and peace of the Turkish people are very important to us. We enjoy very thorough cooperation on this issue," he stated.
Iran backs the Syrian regime economically and politically, not to mention militarily through funding the militias fighting beside Assad forces.
“When we start adding other countries’ armies to terror lists, then serious cracks will occur in the system of international law,” Cavusoglu said during the joint conference, “Trust in the global system will decline and total chaos will ensue.”
“Our conscience does not accept that the brotherly Iranian people be punished,” Cavusoglu said of US sanctions on Iran.
“Such steps put regional stability, peace, calm and economic development under risk.”
The Turkish FM also said the US decision to designate Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization is a dangerous development that could lead to chaos and that Turkey will continue to persuade the US to reconsider this step.