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Are regional powers finally reaching consensus on Syria?

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari spoke to Iranian media about Syria after meeting with Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia's deputy foreign minister.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov during a bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Vientiane, Laos July 26, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Silva - RTSJMOU
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Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke on the phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about regional issues. Zarif also was the first Iranian official to visit Turkey after the attempted coup in July. Zarif met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During a press conference with Cavusoglu, Zarif said, “It’s true there are differences, but the two countries have always insisted on the territorial integrity and national unity of Syria. On matters in which we have differences, we must talk and resolve them.”

On Aug. 14, Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia's deputy foreign minister and President Vladimir Putin's special envoy to the Middle East, arrived in Tehran to discuss the region and Syria with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, and Zarif. After the meeting, Ansari spoke to the Iranian media about Syria. He said that as a result of Zarif’s trip to Turkey, Iran and Turkey reached "a general agreement” on fundamental principles on protecting the territorial integrity of Syria and the formation of a pervasive and national government. Ansari said that while these are general agreements, they can be “the beginning steps of resolving the Syria crisis.”

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