Putin, Erdogan, Rouhani to meet in Iran for talks on ‘normalization’ in Syria

Source: Putin, Erdogan, Rouhani to meet in Iran for talks on ‘normalization’ in Syria | The Times of Israel

Kremlin says leaders to hold tripartite summit Friday on ‘liquidating the hotbed of international terrorism’ in embattled country

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, (r), Russia's President Vladimir Putin, (c), and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani pose for the media members in Sochi, Russia, November 22. 2017. (Kayhan Ozer/Pool via AP)

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, (r), Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, (c), and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani pose for the media members in Sochi, Russia, November 22. 2017. (Kayhan Ozer/Pool via AP)

MOSCOW, Russia — The Kremlin on Monday said that the leaders of Russia, Iran, and Turkey would on Friday hold a tripartite summit in Iran seeking an end to the Syrian conflict.

In a statement confirming the date of September 7 that was reported earlier by Turkish media, the Kremlin said Putin would “make a working visit to Iran” for the talks.

He, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will consider “further joint efforts to ensure long-term normalization of the situation in Syria,” the Kremlin said.

Putin also plans bilateral talks with each of the leaders, it added.

The Kremlin said they would discuss further measures “aimed at finally liquidating the hotbed of international terrorism” in Syria, where the conflict has killed more than 350,000 people since 2011, many of them at the hands of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks during an interview with the Greek Kathimerini newspaper, in Damascus, Syria, in this photo released May 10, 2018. (SANA via AP)

Discussions will look at “promoting the process of a political settlement, including creating the conditions for the return of refugees and the internally displaced,” the Kremlin said.

The statement did not say where in Iran the talks would be held, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week they would be in Tehran.

Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan have backed Syria peace talks based in the Kazakh capital of Astana which they insist are aimed at reinforcing, rather than undermining, a parallel UN peace process in Geneva.

The three leaders last met for similar tripartite talks in Ankara in April, and before that, in November last year, in the Russian resort of Sochi.

Iran and Russia are the main allies of Assad and their military interventions in Syria are widely seen as tipping the balance of the seven-year civil war in the regime’s favor.

Turkey has backed rebels seeking to oust Assad, but since late 2016 has been working increasingly closely with Iran and Russia to bring peace to Syria.

Preparations for the talks are going on as a Syrian regime offensive is expected imminently in the country’s last rebel stronghold, northwestern Idlib province, which Assad wants to recapture to crown a string of military successes.

Turkey has warned that a military operation to take Idlib risks provoking a humanitarian “catastrophe” with 3.5 million people crammed into the region.

 

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