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Lavrov, Zarif Discuss Astana Talks over the Phone

Lavrov, Zarif Discuss Astana Talks over the Phone

Wednesday, 24 April, 2019 - 09:45
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow, March 28, 2017. (AFP)
Tehran - London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov discussed over the phone the Syrian crisis, according to a news report.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the two sides exchanged views on some urgent regional and international issues, including finding a solution to the war in Syria in the context of preparations for the 12th international high-level meeting on the war-torn country, which is part of the Astana process.

Kazakhstan will host the fresh round of Syria talks on April 25-26 in its capital, recently renamed from Astana to Nur-Sultan.

In other news, Syria’s Transport Minister announced on Monday that Damascus approved Qatar Airways’ request to fly through Syrian airspace.

In a statement published on its Facebook page, the Ministry indicated that Minister Ali Hammoud has “agreed to allow Qatar Airways to cross Syrian airspace, based on a request from the Qatari civil aviation authority.”

The statement noted that the agreement came on the principle of reciprocity, as SyrianAir crosses Qatari airspace and never stopped flying to Doha throughout the war.

The use of Syrian airspace would see "increased revenues in hard currency for the benefit of the Syrian state", it added.

Since the war broke out in 2011, most airlines avoided Syria, causing long detours to circumvent the war zone and costing airlines and passengers up to 90 minutes.

Hammoud explained that the detours also resulted in an increase in plane ticket prices, and added more burdens on the technical condition of the aircraft.

Diplomatic sources spoke of efforts to improve Syrian-Qatari relations, but in January, Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani ruled out normalization of ties.

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