Russia, Iran, Syria, and Turkey’s foreign ministers agreed to urge their deputies to draft a roadmap for improving relations between Damascus and Ankara.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Wednesday that he will meet with colleagues from Turkey, Syria, and Iran in Astana, Kazakhstan, on June 21.
He said that “The normalization roadmap is ready,” adding that “our goal here is productive negotiation with our partners in this endeavor; we hope the new meeting in Astana will allow us to move forward with a satisfactory development.”
A similar meeting was conducted on May 10, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attended, emphasizing the significance of having a clear “roadmap” for Turkish-Syrian rapprochement.
Lavrov added that the beginning of normalization efforts between Ankara and Damascus will have a “noticeable positive impact, not only on the situation in Syria but also on the general climate in the region as a whole.”
Russia, Iran, and Turkey established the Astana peace process in 2017 to find solutions to the Syrian problem through UN diplomatic efforts. However, the general environment around this process implies that it will not acquire pace unless Turkish forces completely withdraw from northern Syria, as hinted at during a meeting of the four countries’ defense ministers on April 25.
Armed organizations, including the ‘Syrian National Army’ (SNA) armed group and Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), continue to dominate a large area of Syria’s north, where the Turkish army is also present.
This viewpoint is confirmed by President Bashar al-Assad’s refusal to meet with his Turkish counterpart until Turkish forces have completely withdrawn, as stated by Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad in a broadcast interview with RT Arabic.
Relations between Ankara and Damascus deteriorated with the start of the Western-backed war in Syria in 2011 and the Turkish army’s continued cross-border attacks.
Earlier on Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov announced that a meeting between the deputy foreign ministers of Syria, Russia, Iran, and Turkey has been scheduled for June 21 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
“On June 20-21, a large Russian delegation will fly to Astana. There will be a meeting at the level of deputy foreign ministers on June 21,” Bogdanov said.
The Russian official also revealed that a draft roadmap for the normalization of relations between Syria and Turkey has been mapped out by Russia and is ready to be explored at the quadripartite meeting in Astana.