Zarif, Lavrov stress shared stance on Syria

TEHRAN, Aug. 17 (MNA) – In a Mon. press conference in Moscow, Iran and Russia’s FMs said their two countries have a united position on Syria, while warning against any outside interference in Syrian affairs.

“Western countries insist that Bashar al-Assad has no place in the post-transitional phase, while we believe that it is the Syrian people themselves who must decide the future of their president,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a press conference with Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow on Monday.

Lavrov asserted that his country is keen on cooperating with Iran to settle crisis in the Middle East, stressing that those crises must be resolved without any outside attempt to dictate a resolution to the Syrian civil war.

He further highlighted Moscow’s opposition to any pre-negotiated exit of the Syrian president as part of a peace deal. "If some of our partners believe that we should necessarily agree in advance that at the end of an interim period the president will leave his post - this position is not acceptable for Russia," Lavrov said.

The Iranian diplomat also reaffirmed Lavrov’s comments that the fate of Assad could only be agreed in talks between representatives of his government and their rivals, adding foreign states "should only facilitate that."

“Our states hold a common position on regulating the Syrian crisis. The Syrians must themselves decide their fate and their future, and foreign states should only make this easier,” Zarif said.

The two ministers also stressed on expansion of ties between Tehran and Moscow, with Zarif adding that Iran counted on Russia to play a constructive role in bringing all involved sides to abide by the nuclear deal.

Zarif further added that Iran would continue its nuclear cooperation with Russia on developing Bushehr nuclear power plants, saying the lift of sanctions will lead to the removal of all existing obstacles against the two countries’ economic cooperation.

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif arrived in Moscow today in the last leg of his second regional tour after Iran nuclear talks concluded in the Austrian capital city of Vienna in July 14.


News Code 109307


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