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EghtesadOnline: Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif arrived in the Syrian capital on Tuesday at the head of a political delegation to improve the two countries' coordination of regional and international policies.

He was received at the Damascus airport by the Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad before meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad before midday. 

Zarif said upon arrival that he has traveled to Syria to coordinate policies of mutual interest and implement agreements reached by the presidents of the two countries. 

In late February, Assad made his first public visit to Iran since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011 and met with Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, after which he invited Zarif to visit Damascus, according to Financial Tribune.

"Given the recent developments in the region, particularly the US hostile policies … it was essential to make efforts to … harmonize the policies of regional countries," he was quoted as saying by ISNA. 

Zarif referred to US President Donald Trump's recognition of the Syrian occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territories, declaration of Beit-ul-Moqaddas as Israeli capital and designation of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps as a terrorist organization as examples of such aggressive US measures. 

The move against IRGC met with Iran’s blacklisting of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), which is responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia, as a terrorist group. 

It is of particular importance for Syria, as it currently hosts both American forces and Iranian military advisors. 

 

 

Time for Political Solution 

The foreign minister noted that it was necessary to hold negotiations for addressing the political crisis in Syria after the victories against militants on the battlefields.

In a meeting with Assad later in the day, the two officials discussed various aspects of bilateral relations, regional issues, the latest status of the Astana process for resolving the Syrian crisis and implementing the agreements reached during the trip by First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri to Syria last year. 

The Astana peace process, aimed at ending the Syrian conflict, was launched in January 2017 by Russia and Iran, allies of the Damascus government, and rebel-backer Turkey.

The Iranian delegation also held sessions with Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

Zarif is also set to visit Turkey on Wednesday on the next leg of his two-day trip. 

"Within the framework of [plans to improve] international relations, I will also take a trip to Turkey after Syria," he told reporters. 

According to the website of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, all aspects of bilateral relations will be discussed and views on regional and international issues are to be exchanged during the visit. 

 

Iran Zarif Syria Bashar al-Assad Damascus Mohammed Javad Zarif Foreign Minister Regional Int'l Policies