Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani (R) shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev. (file photo by IRNA)
Iran and Russia have underlined the need for a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
During a telephone conversation on Wednesday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani and his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev discussed the latest developments on Syria.
The two officials underlined the need for a lasting ceasefire in Syria and further consultations between Damascus, Moscow and Tehran on finding ways to speed up the realization of a political solution to the crisis in the Arab country.
“Focusing on solutions that are based on regional cooperation can expedite the process to end the security crisis in Syria,” Shamkhani told Patrushev.
The Iranian official also stressed the continuation of political talks between the Damascus government and the opposition.
“Respecting the [Syrian] people’s demand in freely determining their fate and future, and avoiding any foreign interference in the political talks need to be taken into consideration” during the negotiations, he added.  
The Russian official, for his part, underlined the need for continued consultations between Moscow and Tehran on Syria.
He said that certain extra-regional players were seeking Syria’s partition in total disregard for the Arab country’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty.   
The promotion of ceasefire and new political initiatives could foil such a plot for Syria’s breakup, Patrushev added.
The fourth round of the Astana peace talks aimed at bringing an end to the deadly conflict in Syria began with a series of bilateral meetings in the Kazakh capital on Wednesday.
The Astana peace talks have been mediated by Iran, Russia and Turkey.
The first round of the Astana talks between Syria's warring sides took place on January 23-24, followed by the second round on February 15-16 and the third round on March 14-15.

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