Tehran, Iran, January 2
By Mehdi Sepahvand – Trend:
Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said there is no plan for presidents of Iran, Russia, and Turkey to meet over Syria.
Speaking in a press conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi denied reports that Hassan Rouhani, Vladimir Putin, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to discuss the Syrian crisis in Astana, Kazakhstan in the near future, Trend correspondent reported from Tehran January 2.
Recently sources said Rouhani had welcomed attending a meeting with his Russian and Turkish counterparts in Astana to discuss a solution to the protracted Syrian crisis.
“Following invitation of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, of our president to hold talks on Syria in Kazakhstan, he [Rouhani] has welcomed the invitation,” Mehr news agency quoted an unnamed source as having said December 31.
Qassemi went on to deny even that any other sides other than Syrians will attend the Astana talks, stressing that the upcoming talks will be held between the Syrian government and opposition groups.
He also said there is no other plan between Russia, Iran, and Turkey to have other countries joint their coordination sessions on Syria.
Qassemi nevertheless denied a recent report that Moscow, Tehran, and Ankara are planning to dissect Syria into separate zones of influence.
On December 28 Reuters quoted sources as having said Syria would be divided into informal zones of regional power influence and Bashar al-Assad would remain president for at least a few years under an outline deal between Russia, Turkey, and Iran.
“Iran encourages an independent Syria with territorial integrity and national sovereignty. In its own turn, Iran will try to prevent Syria from turning into an area of influence for powers,” Qassemi stated.