Iran’s Zarif to Hold Talks With Russia’s Lavrov on Syria in Moscow

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will pay an official one-day visit to Russia for talks on the Syrian crisis.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Wednesday that the top diplomat is due in Moscow on Friday.

He said that Zarif is scheduled to attend a trilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem on regional developments, including the conflict in Syria.

According to Qassemi, Zarif will also hold a separate meeting with Lavrov to discuss Tehran-Moscow relations.

Meanwhile, Russia’s RIA news agency, citing the Russian Foreign Ministry, reported that Zarif and Lavrov will also discuss the situation in Iraq.

Muallem’s scheduled visit on Friday had earlier been announced by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Iran and Russia have similar stances on the ongoing deadly crisis in Syria. Moscow and Tehran reject any foreign interference in the affairs of the war-hit country, stressing that only the Syrians are entitled to decide their own fate.

Iran has been providing military advisory assistance to the Syrian government in its campaign against terrorism.

Russia has also been carrying out airstrikes against terrorists’ positions in Syria since September last year at the official request of the Damascus government.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Over 400,000 people have so far been killed in the conflict, according to estimates by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

In neighboring Iraq, the Arab country’s army is also pressing ahead with a massive operation aimed at recapturing Mosul from Daesh Takfiri terrorists, who captured the strategic city in June 2014.

The army has been liberating more areas around Mosul, with the Iraqi Joint Operations Command announcing that counter-terrorism units were only two kilometers away from the city.

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