Russia's ambassador to Iran has refuted recent reports that his country is dissatisfied with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his performance, addressing the allegations for the first time since they emerged.
In an interview with the Iranian Mehr News Agency yesterday, Levan Dzhagaryan said: "You know, there are some speculations as if Russia isn't happy with President Assad. There are some rumours. Maybe, some people who have no political position have declared such views." He said, however, that "such views are their personal views which don't reflect any official positions as a Russian government."
"I would like to stress that we will continue our support for the political process in Syria. We will support the legitimate government of Syria. The future of the country belongs to the Syrian people. Only Syrian people are the decision-makers of their country."
The report revealed earlier this month that Russia, Iran and Turkey had been secretly cooperating in planning to remove Al-Assad from power and establishing a transitional government which would include various regime and opposition players who would select a new Syrian administration.
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Dzhagaryan added: "I would like to highly appreciate the joint efforts by Astana format member countries, Russia, Turkey, and Iran. We are the main players on the ground. Thanks to our trilateral efforts military operation on Syria's ground stopped and paved the way for forces to start negotiations." He expressed his hopes for a more political solution for the ongoing nine-year-long Syrian civil war and the proceeding of negotiations between competing sides, saying that "Hopefully, after this pandemic is over, the political process will continue."
The Astana process, which seeks to find a political solution to the conflict and is led by Moscow, Tehran and Ankara, was responsible for deals such as the Idlib agreement struck in September 2018, which aimed to make Syria's north-western province of Idlib a de-escalation zone before being broken by Russia and the regime the following year.
The last round of talks in the Astana process was held in Kazakhstan's capital Nur-Sultan in December last year, and the next one was scheduled for March but was obstructed by the global coronavirus pandemic.
Yesterday, Iran also denied the report and any plots to overthrow the Assad regime.
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