Syria has sent a high-ranking delegation to Moscow for participation in quadrilateral talks aimed at normalizing relations between Syria and Turkey.
The Syrian delegation, which arrived in the Russian capital on Sunday, is headed by deputy foreign minister, Ayman Sousan, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.
Sousan was quoted by SANA as saying that the Syrian delegation will first hold bilateral meetings with the Russian and Iranian sides on April 3, before participating in the quadripartite meeting on April 4.
The official said the Syrian delegates will focus specifically on ending Turkey’s military presence in the Arab country, the fight against terrorism, and non-interference in Syria’s internal affairs by other countries.
Upon its arrival in Moscow, the Syrian delegation was received by the country’s ambassador to Russia, Bashar al-Jaafari.
Last Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said a quadrilateral meeting to be attended by deputy foreign ministers of Russia, Iran, Turkey and Syria will be held in Moscow soon as a major step to help normalize ties between Ankara and Damascus.
“We are getting ready (for a meeting). I think that (it will be held) soon. We are hoping,” Bogdanov told Russia’s TASS news agency, adding, “We are hoping that our mediating mission, which is directed at a very important strategic goal – the normalization of Syrian-Turkish relations – will result in our shared success.”
Turkey severed its relations with Syria in March 2012, a year after the Arab country found itself in the grip of deadly violence waged by foreign-backed militants, including those allegedly supported by Ankara.
Now, after 11 years, the two neighboring countries are taking steps toward reconciliation.
Last December, defense ministers and intelligence chiefs of Russia, Turkey and Syria met in Moscow in what was the highest-level meeting between Ankara and Damascus since the outbreak of the foreign-backed militancy in Syria.
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has made any meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, conditional on Turkey’s withdrawal from northern Syria.
“(Any meeting) is linked to our reaching the point when Turkey is ready – fully and without any uncertainty – for a complete withdrawal from Syrian territory,” he told Russia’s state-run RIA-Novosti news agency.