Iran, Turkey's Top Diplomats Hold Talks in Moscow


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday accused the U.S. of attempting to divide Syria, during a meeting on the war-torn country with Iran and Turkey.

Russia, Turkey and Iran have been attempting to resolve the Syrian conflict at talks that started a year ago in Astana, Kazakhstan, in competition with a US and United Nations -backed Geneva initiative. "We discussed the preparation to the ninth global meeting on Syria in Astana which we will hold in the middle of May", he said.

"Lavrov stressed that the illegal strikes on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic on April 14, carried out on the eve of the arrival of the OPCW inspectors in Syria, threw back the progress that had been achieved with such difficulty in Astana and Sochi to promote the political settlement of the Syrian crisis", the ministry said in a statement.

The United States is trying to divide Syria into parts.

Western states blamed the Syrian government for the suspected chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb town of Douma on April 7.

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Rouhani, Putin and Erdogan, "reaffirmed their determination to continue their active cooperation on Syria for the achievement of lasting ceasefire between the conflicting parties and advancement of the political process envisaged by UN Security Council Resolution 2254", said a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting of the three leaders in Ankara.

Claims by some Syrian opposition figures are damaging efforts to inject new life into the Geneva peace process, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday, adding that there can be no preconditions for Geneva talks.

He pointed out that the Saturday's sudden meeting between the foreign ministers of the three countries "comes when developments in Syria are not always positive".

It is seen as an attempt by the Syrian regime's allies of undermining the UN-led Geneva roadmap that sets out much harsher conditions on the future of Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, Russia says the attack was staged to discredit Assad.