Tehran, Iran, January 1
By Mehdi Sepahvand – Trend:
Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem is in Tehran holding talks with senior Iranian officials ahead of political negotiations over the future of the Arab country that are to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan.
For the upcoming talks to succeed, armed groups would have to separate themselves from terrorists and evacuate the suburbs of Aleppo, Muallem said during a meeting with Ali Akbar Velayati, director of the Strategic Studies Center of Iran’s Expediency Council, Mehr news agency reported.
Velayati, for his part, praised the recent victory of the government forces in Aleppo as “the victory of victories”.
Muallem arrived in Tehran December 31 at the head of a high-ranking delegation. Earlier in the day, he held talks with senior Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.
In the evening he met with President Hassan Rouhani. During the meeting, Rouhani said the Islamic Republic welcomes Syria’s nationwide ceasefire, but warned against the strengthening of terrorists during the truce time in the Arab country.
“One must watch out that no opportunity will be created during the time of ceasefire for the terrorists’ reinforcement,” Rouhani.
The ceasefire, which took effect across Syria at midnight December 30, excludes the most brutal of terror outfits operating in the Arab country, namely the Islamic State (aka IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.
The truce was mediated by Russia and Turkey, which respectively represented the Syrian government and the anti-Damascus militants.
In a telephone conversation on December 31, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said the battle against terrorism and terrorist groups in Syria must continue.
The two presidents exchanged views about cooperation among Iran, Russia and Syria ahead of the peace talks due to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan, between the parties to the Syrian conflict.