By Mostafa Shirmohammadi
Iran, Russia and Turkey on Tuesday urged political solution for Syria as their presidents came together in Tehran for the 7th summit of the Astana process that aims to end a decade-long conflict in the Arab country.
President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, flanked by his Russian and Turkish counterparts Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told a press conference that the Astana process has been successful and its members namely Tehran, Moscow and Ankara should continue to work together until peace is restored to Syria.
Raeisi said Iran, Russia and Turkey agreed that the whole Syrian territory must be controlled by the government in Damascus and that Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected.
The president criticized US military presence in Syria, saying Washington’s occupation of the Eastern Euphrates region “is not justifiable whatsoever”.
He also slammed Israel’s military strikes on Syria and said they must come to an end immediately as they violate Syrian sovereignty as well as international law.
The comments came after Raeisi, Putin and Erdogan held trilateral talks behind closed doors on the peace process in Syria.
Speaking at the press conference, Putin echoed Raeisi’s remarks, saying the crisis in Syria must be resolved through dialogue between Syrian parties and without external interference.
He said the three leaders agreed to continue their cooperation until terrorism is eradicated in Syria.
The Russian president also noted that the Eastern Euphrates region must return to the Syrian government’s control.
Erdogan hailed the Astana format as the most effective means to facilitate the peace process in Syria.
He demanded that the process of political talks be expedited in order to help stabilize Syria.
The next round of the tripartite summit will be held in Russia.
After their meeting in Tehran, a joint statement was issued in which the three guarantors of the Astana process “rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism… and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria”.
They also urged the international community, particularly the UN and its humanitarian agencies, to increase their assistance to all Syrians without discrimination, politicization and preconditions and in a more transparent manner.
In the statement, the trio “highlighted the need to facilitate safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their original places of residence in Syria, ensuring their right to return and right to be supported”.