Leonid Slutsky: "Russia, Turkey, Iran is a triangle that can achieve sustainable peace in Syria"
Talks between Russian, Turkish and Iranian Presidents Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani held talks yesterday in Sochi. They discussed the Syrian crisis settlement after destruction of the Daesh terrorist group. Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky discussed the results of trilateral negotiations in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- What did these talks manage to achieve?
- They agreed on common approach to the Syrian settlement, on development of de-escalation zones and maintance of cessation of hostilities regime through this mechanism. They achieved understanding on constitutional process and healthy combination of negotiations at the Astana and Geneva platforms (Geneva is basically a constitutional process, while Astana focuses on ceasefire regime and contacts between military experts). Of course, Turkey's role here is very important, including in Idlib, where activities of both Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham groups has significantly dropped. As for Iran, Shiite militia works in the zones where it is needed very effectively, epsecially in places where Shiite population lives. Russia, Turkey and Iran is a triangle that can achieve sustainable peace in Syria. Other issues of regional agenda were also discussed, but, of course, they talked about the Syrian dossier for a significant part of the negotiations.
- Does this mean that the Syrian settlement enters a new stage now?
- The fact that Presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey reached common position shows that the Syrian settlement has entered its final stage, at least when it comes to fighting against international terrorism. Hopefully, peace in Syria will soon be restored. There are a lot of reasons to assume that it will be sustainable: Russia, Turkey and Iran will continue to play the most important role in ensuring that hostilities won't resume. Of course, official Damascus also plays an important role here - preventive bombardment of opposition zones in the provinces of Daraa and Homs were destructive, but now things like that have stopped. I would like to highlight, just like Presidents of Turkey and Iran have highlighted, the actions of Russian Defense Ministry, which are seemingly uncharacteristic for defense department, at least in political and diplomatic sphere .
- What were the successes of Russia's Defense Ministry in diplomacy?
- I would like to highlight a unique reconciliation center. This center operates in Khemeymim, and it managed to make almost 2 thousand settlements join the regime of cessation of hostilities in a few months. They have reached several agreements, and even though it's too early to discuss them in public, we can say that this meeting, without exaggeration, became a very important milestone.
- How important is Russia-Turkey-Iran triangle for the region?
- I would like to note current trend - regional meetings in various trilateral formats are happening more often. Meeting between Presidents of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan in Tehran has ended recently, and now similar talks have been held in Sochi. Of course, different formats have different agendas. Russia-Iran-Azerbaijan discuss fuel and energy complex, railways, electricity and many other issues, including cooperation in the Caspian region. Russia-Turkey-Iran primarily discuss the Syrian settlement. Nevertheless, regional trilateral format really helps the discussion of fundamental issues, such as security architecture in the Central and Southern Eurasia.
- How parliaments participate in these trilateral talks?
- When it comes to parliaments, we plan interesting events, the first of which will be the Conference on Regional Security in Islamabad at the end of December. It will be attended by representatives of different delegations. Russian delegation may be headed by the State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin. We expect participation of countries such as Russia, Pakistan, China, Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey. Let's hope that such formats fully help to achieve the most important goals in the vast regions of Central and Southern Eurasia, which are also important for Russia.