Senior Iranian, Russian diplomats discuss Syria crisis

Senior diplomats from Iran and Russia have discussed regional developments, particularly the crisis in Syria ahead of talks on the Arab country’s future scheduled for January 29 in Geneva.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov said after a meeting in Moscow Wednesday that the two countries shared a common view on the settlement of the regional crises.

“Moscow and Tehran have common position on the regulation of the Middle East problems; we also have the same position on Syria,” Amir-Abdollahian told reporters after the meeting. 

Bogdanov serves as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East and Africa.

The senior diplomats stressed the need for finding a political solution to the conflict in Syria in keeping with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran supports the efforts of UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura to ensure dialog with Syria

A UN resolution, adopted on December 18, 2015, calls for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria and the formation of a “credible, inclusive and non-sectarian” government within six months and UN-supervised “free and fair elections” within 18 months.

The talks on a ceasefire in Syria were supposed to start on Monday, but they have been put off until Friday due to disagreements over who should sit at the negotiating table.

Some opposition groups met in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday without reaching a final decision on whether they would attend the Geneva talks. The so-called High Negotiations Committee has postponed a decision until Thursday.

A Syrian government delegation, however, will attend the talks.

Syria has been gripped by a foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The conflict has reportedly claimed the lives of over 260,000 people and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or without its borders.

In their meeting, Amir-Abdollahian and Bogdanov also discussed the situation in Lebanon, Yemen, and the Persian Gulf region.

The Iranian diplomat arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for consultations with Russian officials on regional issues.