News ID: 209544
Published: 1206 GMT February 06, 2018
Tehran, Moscow opposed to foreign military presence in Syria

Putin: Iran, Eurasia cooperation will enter new stage following FTZ deal

Putin: Iran, Eurasia cooperation will enter new stage following FTZ deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the negotiations on the interim agreement on the creation of a free trade zone between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union are finalized, underlining that by signing the document, cooperation will enter a new stage.

The Russian president made the comments in a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday.

The union, comprising Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, is an international organization that encourages regional economic integration through the free movement of goods, services, and people within the union.

Putin emphasized that Moscow was determined to deepen its ties with Tehran in all fields of mutual interest.


Nuclear agreement


Vladimir Putin said Russia believes that any attempt to undermine the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement is extremely harmful and dangerous to our region, adding that, “We have made our position clear to our counterparts.”

During the conversation, the Iranian president emphasized the need for swift implementation of the agreements previously signed between the two countries.

The president expressed satisfaction with the progress of the nuclear cooperation between Iran and Russia, saying that the process of implementation of the agreements and pacts between the two countries is well underway and we hope that the signing of the free trade agreement between Iran and Eurasia results in acceleration of bilateral and regional cooperation.


Yemen crisis


Rouhani then stressed the need for joint efforts to peacefully resolve the ongoing crisis in Yemen, where the people are under daily attacks by Saudi Arabia which wants to restore the country’s former president.

He also denounced recent “unfounded” accusations leveled by the US and Saudi Arabia against Iran over Tehran’s supplying of missiles to Yemen, saying that the groundwork for these allegations was merely an attempt by the US administration to undermine the nuclear agreement.


Foreign troops in Syria


Rouhani and Putin expressed opposition of their respective countries to the presence of foreign forces in Syria, without the consent of the Syrian government and nation.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is opposed to the presence of foreign forces on Syrian soil without the permission of the [Arab] country’s government and nation,” the Iranian president said.

Referring to renewed tensions in northern Syria, where Turkey has launched an unauthorized incursion, President Rouhani said, “The continuance of tensions is in no one’s interest, and we hope all regional countries will respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria,” without naming Turkey.

Turkey launched the so-called Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s northwestern city of Afrin on January 20 in a bid to eliminate the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara views as a terrorist organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). Turkey has warned that the Afrin offensive could expand to the nearby Syrian city of Manbij.

A United States-led coalition, too, is operating in Syria without authorization from the Syrian government.

Russia and Iran have both been offering Syria advisory military help upon request from the Syrian government.

The Russian president stressed that Moscow, like Tehran, believed that only the Syrian people should decide the future of their country.

He raised the alarm about attempts by some extra-regional states to equip terrorists and disintegrate Syria and emphasized that any unauthorized foreign military presence in an independent country was direct interference in its affairs.

Last week, a Russian fighter jet was downed in the militant-held northwestern Syrian province of Idlib with a projectile fired from a shoulder-launched anti-aircraft MANPAD.

Rouhani and Putin further discussed the Syrian peace process in the Kazakh capital of Astana and a recent meeting on Syria in the Russian resort city of Sochi.

The Kremlin said in a statement that presidents Rouhani and Putin “pointed to effective cooperation between Russia, Iran, and Turkey on the Astana platform. They expressed preparedness to continue coordinating their steps to promote the platform and put new issues on the agenda.”

Russia, Iran, and Turkey have been organizing peace talks for Syria in Astana since January 2017. Together, the three countries have been acting as guarantor states for the peace process.

Capitalizing on the achievements of Astana, on January 29-30, Russia convened a high-profile meeting on Syria – the Syrian Congress of National Dialogue – in Sochi. Around 1,600 delegates representing a wide range of Syrian political factions attended the Sochi talks.


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