20 Jun 2023 09:54

Moscow expects Astana talks to make progress in normalizing Syria-Turkey relations - Russian deputy FM

ASTANA. June 20 (Interfax) - Russia is hopeful that headway will be made in efforts to normalize relations between Damascus and Ankara during Astana-format talks in Kazakhstan's capital, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.

"You know that a meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, Syria, Turkey, and Iran took place in Moscow on May 10. We were tasked with developing a roadmap for this process aimed at normalizing relations between Syria and Turkey. We hope that we will make progress in this work as well," Bogdanov told reporters in Astana on Tuesday.

A meeting of the deputy foreign ministers of these four countries - Turkey, Syria, Russia, and Iran - is also taking place for the first time on the sidelines of the Astana process, he said.

"We are tackling the problems related to the normalization of relations between Damascus and Ankara. This process should rely upon agreed principles such as mutual respect and the territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty of Syria and Turkey," he said.

The participants in the talks plan to discuss all issues together, Bogdanov said.

"All of the issues in this entire set, where we do not separate any issues from others, are interconnected. For instance, the return of refugees requires not only the elimination of the terrorist presence and normalization from the point of view of security, but it also involves economic matters such as the restoration of the economy, the structure of isolated towns and villages. All this should be done through joint efforts. The international community should also be involved in this work. We also hope for support from Arab countries with which the process of normalizing relations is now ongoing," Bogdanov said.