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Iran’s Zarif hails Syria truce as ‘major achievement’

By AFP   |   30 December 2016   |   10:41 am
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (C) shakes hands with his Iran's counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) looks on after a news conference in Moscow on December 20, 2016. Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to guarantee Syria peace talks and backed expanding a ceasefire in the war-torn country, Russian foreign minister said after talks with counterparts. / AFP PHOTO / Natalia KOLESNIKOVA

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (C) shakes hands with his Iran’s counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) looks on after a news conference in Moscow on December 20, 2016. Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to guarantee Syria peace talks and backed expanding a ceasefire in the war-torn country, Russian foreign minister said after talks with counterparts. / AFP PHOTO / Natalia KOLESNIKOVA

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday welcomed a nationwide truce in Syria as a “major achievement” that could lead to renewed peace talks.

On the deal brokered by Russia and Turkey — potentially a significant breakthrough in the nearly six-year conflict — Zarif said: “Ceasefire in Syria is a major achievement.

“Let’s build on it by tackling the roots of extremist terror,” he posted on Twitter.

Zarif spoke by telephone Thursday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the latest developments in Syria, where Iran has offered considerable military, financial and diplomatic aid to defend President Bashar al-Assad.

“Both sides welcomed the nationwide ceasefire and emphasised the fight against terrorism, Islamic State (IS) and Al-Nusra groups and their allies,” the official IRNA news agency said.

Zarif and Lavrov agreed to “continue consultation and coordination within the framework of the tripartite agreement among Turkey, Iran and Russia to hold talks between the Syrian government and rebels” in Kazakstan, it added.

Turkey and Russia are pushing for talks between the regime and rebels in Astana to begin next month.

The ceasefire, announced Thursday by Russian President Vladimir Putin and confirmed by the Syrian army and opposition, does not include designated “terrorists” such as IS.




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