Iran says Astana talks reinforce legitimacy of Syrian regime

Tehran, Jan 25 (IANS) An adviser to Iran’s supreme leader said that he believed the Syrian peace talks in Astana have reinforced the ‘legitimacy’ of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

“The Astana conference showed that all sides, both Turkey and its affiliated groups and even the countries which are not present there, have accepted the Syrian government’s legitimacy directly or indirectly,” efe news cited a report of Iranian news agency FARS that quoted Ali Akbar Velayati, Ali Khamenei’s top aide.

Among the countries absent from the meeting, that ended on Tuesday in Astana, are Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have financed the Syrian armed opposition and strongly advocated the departure of al-Assad from power.

Velayati considered the outcome of Astana’s dialogue to be positive since he predicted it could not have been expected that all the disputed issues in Syria would be resolved in this meeting.

Talks between the Syrian government and the armed opposition concluded on Tuesday with the consolidation of the cease-fire and establishing a mechanism for its supervision, paving the way for the resumption of political talks on February 8 in Geneva.

Russia, Iran and Turkey — the guarantors of this trilateral mechanism — also pledged jointly to fight the Islamic State and Fateh al-Sham Front, the former al-Qaeda affiliate.