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Putin, Rouhani, Erdogan To Push Astana Process Forward at Nov. 22 Sochi Meeting

Nov. 20, 2017 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to meet in Sochi, Russia, on Nov. 22, to push forward the Astana cease-fire process in Syria. Their foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov, Mohamed Javad Zarif, and Mevlut Cavusoglu, met in Antalya, Turkey, yesterday, to prepare the ground for the summit.

"The ministers exchanged views on the package of issues related to a crisis settlement in Syria," reports the Russian Foreign Ministry readout.

"They reviewed the main trends in military-political developments in Syria in the context of an approaching final rout of the seat of international terrorism and the functioning of the de-escalation zones in the armed conflict created within the framework of the Astana Process."

According to the readout, they

"called for continuing cooperative efforts within the Astana format, which contribute to the creation of conditions for stepping up the intra-Syrian talks under UN aegis in Geneva."

Cavusoglu reported that high-ranking officials of the three governments also met in Tehran to prepare for the summit.

"With the Astana process, we have come a long way with Russia, especially in terms of the establishment of peace on the field and forming de-escalation zones. The situation on the field is much better compared to last year,"

Cavusoglu said, reports Anadolu. When asked whether the PKK/PYD terrorist organization was invited to the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, Cavusoglu said the participation of the terrorist group would be unacceptable for Turkey. "Our sensitivity about PYD/YPG is obvious," he added.

For his part, Zarif said that Iran, Turkey, and Russia are ready to establish means for lasting security, stability, and peace in Syria. "The measures taken in Astana, Kazakhstan, over the past eleven months have dramatically minimized conflicts in Syria," he said.

In addition to the Russian Foreign Ministry statement, Lavrov reported that the defense chiefs of the three countries will also be meeting ahead of the Sochi summit. According to Lavrov, the military of the three countries had been in contact on the functioning of all the four de-escalation zones in Syria, and also continue working on organization of the fifth zone, reports TASS.