Wednesday Jun 27, 201205:12 PM GMT
Iran calls on Turkey, Syria to show restraint in jet incident
Iran
Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi
Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:3PM
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Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi calls on Turkey and Syria to show restraint and tolerance to solve the dispute over the recent downing of a Turkish warplane over coastal Mediterranean waters.


Brigadier General Vahidi told reporters after a cabinet session on Wednesday that Ankara and Damascus should try to defuse tensions on their border and to resolve their disagreements through negotiations.

He also warned against unrest inside or on the border regions of Iran's neighboring states, stressing that any such crisis could turn into full-scale conflict that could engulf the entire Middle East.

The Iranian defense minister further said Turkey and Syria should hold dialogue, bolster cooperation and respect one another's sovereignty to settle their disputes.

In response to a question regarding NATO's tough stance on the incident given Turkey has confirmed that its F-4 jet fighter entered the Syrian airspace, Brigadier General Vahidi said it is clear that the Western military alliance’s stance is rooted in its anti-Syria positions.

He underscored that relations between Turkey and Syria as two Muslim countries must not be defined by Western countries, and the two sides should resolve their problems themselves.

The meddling of NATO or any other foreign force will be harmful, and will endanger friendly ties among regional countries.

A Turkish Air Force jet crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on June 22 after being shot down by Syria, the Turkish premier's office said in a statement a day after the incident.

Syria's military also said its air defenses shot at an "unidentified aerial target" that was flying "very low" and at "high speed" within Syrian airspace, just one kilometer off Syria's Latakia region coastline.

Syrian officials say the jet invaded the country's airspace, while Turkey insists it was attacked over international waters.

MP/HGH/AZ
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