By Elena Teslova
MOSCOW (AA) – Ankara, Moscow and Tehran agreed to hold a videoconference and then a face-to-face meeting on the Syrian settlement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced on Tuesday.
The presidents of the three countries will discuss Syrian issues in a videoconference and then will hold a summit in Tehran, Lavrov said at a news conference following a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
"Today, we confirmed the agreement of the three presidents of the Astana format countries that the summit will be held in Tehran within terms that will be determined considering the situation developing due to the coronavirus. We supported the proposal to hold a video conference before the face-to-face meeting of the three leaders. We will agree on terms of this videoconference quite quickly, and then announce them," the minister said.
According to Lavrov, the videoconference may take place before a gathering of the Syrian constitutional committee.
For his part, Zarif said he hoped that the videoconference would be held by August.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
– Iran supports Russian, Turkish efforts in Libya
Asked about Iran's view on the situation in Libya, Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran supports Russian and Turkish efforts in the country aiming to end the conflict.
"We support the efforts that Russia and Turkey are making to end the conflict in Libya, and we hope that the legitimate government in Libya will be able to bring calm to the people of Libya," he said.
For his part, Lavrov said Russia's approach to the Syrian conflict can be applied to Libya, as its main feature is to prompt the conflicting parties to hold talks and provide necessary conditions so that they could find a common ground.
"The only thing left is to convince the Libyan parties that they should sit down at the table and start negotiations. We are currently working on this," he said.
Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Libya's new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to the military offensive by warlord Khalifa Haftar’s forces.
The internationally recognized government has been under attack by Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.
In March, the Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm to counter attacks on the capital, and recently regained strategic locations, including the Al-Watiya airbase and the strategic city of Tarhuna.