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Friday, December 1, 2023

Putin to meet Raisi and Erdogan in Tehran: Kremlin

It will be only Putin's second foreign trip since the start of Moscow's armed intervention in Ukraine on Feb. 24, following a trip to Central Asia at the end of June.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to discuss Syria during a visit to Tehran next Tuesday, the Kremlin said.

It will be only Putin’s second foreign trip since the start of Moscow’s armed intervention in Ukraine on Feb. 24, following a trip to Central Asia at the end of June.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said three leaders – from the three guarantor states of the Astana process, designed to find a peace settlement in Syria – would hold a trilateral meeting.

Read more: Turkey asked by Ukraine to detain Russian ship

Russia and Iran are the key military and political backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has provided military assistance to the Free Syrian Army and other rebel groups still fighting against Assad’s forces in northwest Syria.

The Kremlin had said on Monday that Putin and Erdogan, who has been mediating between Moscow and Kyiv since Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine on Feb. 24, would hold in-person talks soon after a phone conversation in which they discussed efforts to facilitate grain exports from Ukraine.

NATO member Turkey, which has good ties with both Moscow and Kyiv, has criticised the Russian military campaign but also rejected Western sanctions on Russia.

It has, however, refused to accept commercial shipments from Crimea at Kyiv’s request since Russia seized the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

The Kremlin also said that Putin and Erdogan had discussed Syria, where both countries have deployed armed forces.

It said they had stressed the importance of trilateral meetings including Iran – also militarily engaged in Syria – under the Astana peace framework.

Read more: Is Turkey helping Russia?

Peskov made no mention on Tuesday of any bilateral meeting between Putin and Raisi in Tehran.

Reuters with additional input by GVS News Desk