Iranian FM visits Ankara to discuss regional, bilateral issues

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 17.04.2019 00:09

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will pay a visit to Turkey today to discuss bilateral relations and regional developments.

"During the visit, all aspects of our bilateral relations will be discussed and views on regional and international issues will be exchanged," a statement released by the foreign ministry said.

In the meeting between the two sides, the Syrian crisis is expected to be the top issue on the agenda. Zarif's visit comes a week before the 12th Astana talks, which will be held in the Kazakh capital of Nursultan on April 25-26.

Iran and Turkey have been involved in the Astana process with the aim of easing the crisis and bringing an end to the eight-year war. The first meeting of the Astana process was held in Turkey in January 2017 to bring all warring parties in the Syrian conflict to the table and facilitate U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva.

The Astana talks support the establishment of the U.N.-backed constitutional committee in Syria as a way to find a political solution. The planned constitutional committee – including representatives from the opposition, regime and guarantor countries – will be tasked with writing and establishing Syria's post-war constitution, which is seen as a stepping-stone to elections in the war-torn country.

Prior to his visit to Turkey, Zarif arrived in Damascus, according to the Iranian official IRNA news agency and was scheduled to meet Bashar Assad and other top regime officials. The top diplomat's one-day visit comes upon an official invitation from Assad.

Previously, in February, Zarif announced his resignation, however, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani rejected the resignation. In an unexpected move, Zarif offered an apology for his "shortcomings" with a message on Instagram.

Zarif, 59, has served as Rouhani's foreign minister since August 2013. He was the main negotiator of the 2015 nuclear deal, which was reached after several rounds of talks with the then-Secretary of State John Kerry.

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