Thu Aug 31, 2017 01:42PM
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif talk to each other in Moscow, December 20, 2016. (Photo by AP)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif talk to each other in Moscow, December 20, 2016. (Photo by AP)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov have exchanged views about important regional issues, among them the conflict in Syria.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the two officials held a phone conversation over the resolution of the Syria crisis based on the agreements made during the peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

The Astana discussions have brought representatives from the government in Damascus and opposition groups to the negotiating table in a bid to end the foreign-backed militancy in Syria, which broke out in March 2011.

Four rounds of the negotiations took place on January 23-24, February 15-16, March 14-15, May 3-4 and July 4-5. A sixth round is expected to be held in mid-September.

The picture shows a general view during a fifth round of intra-Syrian talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, July 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The fourth round of the intra-Syrian talks resulted in an agreement on four de-escalation zones across Syria, with Russia, Iran, and Turkey serving as guarantor states.

Three of the safe zones have been created to date in Syria’s central province of Homs, in the Eastern Ghouta area of the southern Rif Dimashq Province, and a southwestern militant-controlled stretch along the border with Jordan. They have sharply reduced fighting in the conflict zones.

The upcoming Astana talks is aimed at facilitating the creation of the fourth de-escalation zone, in Syria’s western Idlib Province, where significant concentrations of Takfiri terrorists, most notably from al-Nusra Front, are operating.

"Three de-escalation zones have already been established, the fourth one is being formed in the area of Idlib. The next meeting in the Astana format will be held in the near future, where I hope these agreements will be finally fixed in legal documents," Lavrov said earlier this week.

During Thursday’s phone call, the top Iranian and Russian diplomats also discussed the implementation of the landmark nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015.