Putin, Rouhani stress importance of enhancing efforts to resolve Syrian conflict – Kremlin

Vladimir Putin (right) with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani discussed on phone the situation in Syria and stressed the importance of enhancing joint efforts to resolve the conflict in the Middle East, the Kremlin press service said in a statement on Saturday.

“While discussing the situation in Syria, the sides stressed the importance of enhancing joint efforts to promote the political and diplomatic settlement of the conflict in this country, in particular, within the Astana process and through implementation of the memorandum on establishment of de-escalation zones,” the press service said.

According to the statement, Putin and Rouhani agreed to continue maintaining contacts within bilateral and multilateral formats, as well as expressed commitment to deepen the multifaceted bilateral interaction in accordance with the agreements reached during the visit of Rouhani to Russia on March 27-28.

“Particular attention was paid to the issues of trade and economic cooperation, including the implementation of major joint projects in the oil and gas sphere and in the field of peaceful atom,” the press service said.

Putin also congratulated Rouhani over his re-election to the post of Iran’s president.

Russia and Iran, along with Turkey, are guarantors of a nationwide Syrian ceasefire regime that came into force on 30 December, 2016. At the latest Astana talks on Syria which took place on 3-4 May, the three states signed a memorandum on the establishment of four safe zones in Syria. The zones span the northwestern Idlib province and parts of the neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo, the north of the central Homs province, Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, as well as southern Daraa and Quneitra regions. It came into force on 6 May.

The presidential elections in Iran took place on 19 May. Rouhani was reelected for a second term in office by winning 57 percent of the vote with over 40 million people having cast ballots in the election amounting to a 70 percent voter turnout.