Astana talks on Syria to take place despite Iran’s differences with Turkey – Tehran

MUNICH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 12: Mohammad Javad Zarif (C), Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, talks to turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) at the 2016 Munich Security Conference at the Bayerischer Hof hotel on February 12, 2016 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Lennart Preiss/Getty Images)

The talks in Astana on Syrian reconciliation brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey will proceed despite some disagreements between Tehran and Ankara, as the latter plays an important role to support peace in the war-torn country, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Monday.

“Turkey has a significant role in Syria … We are making efforts for the Astana talks to proceed more powerfully than before and be effective in resolving the Syrian crisis,” Qassemi said adding that the differences between Iran and Turkey would not halt the Astana process as quoted by the Tasnim news agency.

In January, Russia, along with Turkey and Iran, the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire, initiated talks in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana devoted to Syrian reconciliation. During the first round of talks, Damascus representatives and the armed opposition sat together at the negotiating table for the first time since the beginning of the Syrian conflict  in 2011.

Astana hosted three rounds of talks in January, February and March. During the talks, the participants agreed to set up a ceasefire monitoring group, among other issues.

The next Astana talks are expected to take place in Kazakhstan’s capital on Wednesday and Thursday.

On April 5, Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that Moscow believed that Ankara was serious in its commitment to the ceasefire in Syria and the two sides continue bilateral discussions of any existing disagreements.