Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem said his meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday addressed coordination of political and military issues, in addition to the economic dimension, which has stood out powerfully in the discussions of the bilateral relations.
In a statement to SANA following the meeting, which took place in the Russian resort city of Sochi, al-Moallem described the meeting as “constructive” and “useful”, saying that both sides discussed the situation in Syria and the region as swell as the situation in the international arena, and “we agreed on continuing consultation between both countries in the various fields.”
The meeting also touched upon the need to hold Astana 7 meeting and Geneva conference, in addition to the efforts exerted by the Syrian army in the fight against ISIL and al-Nusra Nusra and their affiliates, al-Moallem added.
In his response to a question on the Syrian government’s attitude towards more countries joining the Astana process as observers, al-Moallem said “We accepted the requests of five countries, and
now we have received a request form Venezuela I think. We welcome the involvement of these countries and expanding participation in Astana meetings.”
Commenting on the fourth de-escalation zone in Idlib, al-Moallem affirmed that this zone was agreed on at the latest Astana meeting under the patronage of the guarantor countries “with the hope that it will be implemented on the ground.”
“We started from our desire to stop the Syrian bloodshed, and in the end, such agreements have a fixed period of six months, and accordingly they are part of our right to maintaining the unity of Syria, land and people,” al-Moallem said.
He elaborated by saying that he believes that what is going on now in Idlib is “part of fixing issues between Turkey and its tools.”
“We still and will always consider the Turkish presence in Syria as illegal. The Turks say their presence is taking place under the Astana umbrella, but I realized today that Astana has nothing to do with this Turkish act. Therefore, any measure that is not coordinated with the Syrian government is an act of aggression, and we don’t recognize its legitimacy,” al-Moallem said.
Earlier during his meeting with Lavrov, al-Moallem affirmed that the international coalition led by Washington is destroying everything in Syria except for ISIS terrorist organization.
He said that Syria will demand the disbanding of the US-led international coalition which Washington uses to destroy the country and prolong the war indefinitely.
In turn, Lavrov affirmed that the victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army, supported by the Russian Air Force, have made the efforts of solving the crisis in Syria more successful.
“Today we have a chance to discuss foreign policy aspects of our partnership, first of all that besides the success in the war on terror while the Syrian army is advancing backed by Russia’s Aerospace Forces, the preparations for political settlement are becoming more pressing,” he added.
“We will also strongly counter any attempts to politicize the chemical dossier and the attempts to accuse the Syrian government without any proof or professional investigation of a whole number of incidents, which occurred with the use of chemical warfare agents on your country’s territory,” Lavrov said.
He pointed out that the attempts continue on the part of the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council to “politicize the situation around the Syrian settlement and put forward one-sided accusations.”
Lavrov added that he also discussed cooperation of delegations from the two countries at international venues, including in New York and Geneva.
The Russian Foreign Minister also welcomed the joint success of the two countries in the war on terror.
Lavrov recalled that “certain decisions” were reached on Tuesday at a meeting of the Russian-Syrian intergovernmental committee, attended by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.