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Moscow works on improving Washington-Tehran relations

12 May 2017 [14:43] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Kamila Aliyeva

Russia is making great efforts to convince the U.S. to accept Iranian role in a plan for foreign troops to police safe zones in Syria as a step toward ending the six-year war.

Moscow is already working as an intermediary in the settlement of relations between the U.S. and Iran, Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, TASS reported.

“It's hard, of course, there are no illusions here,” Bogdanov said adding that “Americans generally welcomed the talks in Astana; they said that Astana is good and Iran is bad.”

“Of course, there is a contradiction and a problem here,” Bogdanov stated, noting that this requires additional political and diplomatic efforts.

 “Does anyone think Iran is going to leave this region and Syria, as if you could wave a magic wand and Iran would disappear?” Bogdanov said. “That’s not going to happen.”

He drew attention to the fact that the new administration and U.S. President Donald Trump are "businesslike and love practical results."

"Of course, it is very difficult, but there is no other way," he added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington that he hoped the U.S. would “make an active contribution” to securing the safe zones. Lavrov suggested the U.S. may “initiate” the process in southern Syria near the borders with Israel and Jordan.

Russia, Turkey and Iran signed a memorandum on creating four zones at talks involving the Syrian government and opposition groups in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, last week.

Trump’s campaign pledge to cooperate with Putin on defeating Islamic State has met resistance from Republicans and Democrats, who are pushing for a harder line toward Moscow over its supposed interference in the U.S. election, support for Assad and actions in Ukraine.

The civil war in Syria between government and opposition with various terrorist groups involved, including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), began back in March 2011.

Syrian President Bashar Assad managed to turn the tide of war in his favor after Russia started an air campaign in September 2015, while Iran is an uncompromising supporter of the Syrian leader.

According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.


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