Amid ongoing diplomatic efforts to tackle the Syrian crisis, foreign ministers from Iran, Russia and Turkey have held a tripartite summit in the Astana format to secure peace and stability in the Arab country.
The joint meeting was held on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday, and was attended by Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen was also present at the talks, which took place at the permanent mission of Iran to the UN.
Speaking at the event, Amir-Abdollahian lambasted the worsening humanitarian situation in Syria, attributing part of the misery inflicted on the Syrian people to the unilateral Western sanctions and the looting of Syria’s assets and natural resources, which have markedly targeted the nation’s women and children among others.
He denounced the anti-Syria sanctions as “illegal” and underlined the need for their complete removal.
The top Iranian diplomat further said reconstruction of war-torn Syria should not be treated as a tool in order to exert pressure on the Damascus government, adding that resolution of the Syrian refugee crisis requires recovery of essential infrastructure and availability of water, electricity and other services to all.
He also emphasized that the international community must assume its responsibility to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian nation.
“We (the parties) view the unilateral sanctions imposed against Syria as a violation of the international and humanitarian law, the UN Charter, and an obstacle to the distribution of aid among Syrian locals and refugees,” Amir-Abdollahian said, adding that they also “support the safe, honorable and voluntary return of Syrian refugees and restoration of their rights.”
He also stressed the need for political dialogue on the Syrian crisis under the auspices of the United Nations, reiterating unwavering support for the fight against terrorism and extremism in Syria.
The Iranian foreign minister also emphasized that parties will continue their cooperation to counter the threat of terrorism at the same time as respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.
Iran and Russia, as the allies of the Syrian government, as well as Turkey, which sides with the opposition, set up the Astana peace process in January 2017 intending to put an end to the Syrian conflict through the involvement of the Syrian government and the opposition.