DAMASCUS (Dispatches) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a senior assistant to Iran’s foreign minister have underlined the need for Syria’s Constitutional Committee to continue work without any foreign interference.
The Syrian leader received Iran’s Ali Asghar Khaji at the presidential palace in Damascus, where they discussed a range of issues, including enhancement of "strategic” relations and bilateral economic cooperation in the face of Western sanctions.
They also discussed Astana meetings, the progress made in the previous meetings and the agenda of the next meeting in the Russian resort city of Sochi scheduled for February 16-17.
The Astana format was initiated by Iran, Russia and Turkey to bring the warring sides in Syria together to find a permanent solution to the conflict in the Arab country. The peace process is known as the Astana process because Kazakhstan’s capital, Nur-Sultan, formerly called Astana, originally hosted the meetings.
In their meeting, President Assad and Khaji also held consultations on the fifth meeting of the Constitutional Committee held in the Swiss city of Geneva late last month.
President Assad appreciated Iran’s support for the Syrian people and government and underlined the need for constant coordination and consultations between Tehran and Damascus.
The Iranian official briefed the Syrian president on Iran’s stances on the Astana format and the Constitutional Committee.
He also stressed the importance of continuing the work of the Astana mechanism as well as helping facilitate talks in the Constitutional Committee towards resolving the conflict in the Arab country.
Among Syrian officials present at the meeting were Bouthaina Shaaban, the political and media adviser to President Assad, and Deputy Foreign Minister Bashar al-Jaafari.