ISTANBUL (AFP) – Syria and Qatar back Turkish efforts for a diplomatic solution to the row over Iran’s nuclear programme, Turkey’s foreign minister said after leaders of the three countries met Sunday, a report said.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, held three-way talks in Istanbul to discuss regional affairs.
Ahmet Davutoglu said the Syrian and Qatari leaders both supported Ankara’s efforts to mediate between Western powers and Iran, among them a proposal to host talks over Tehran’s nuclear activities, Anatolia news agency reported.
“The three countries condemned recent rhetoric and actions raising tensions in the region… They emphasized support for all efforts aimed at regional peace and stability,” the minister was quoted as saying.
Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani was also in Turkey Sunday, holding talks with President Abdullah Gul in Istanbul at the start of a three-day visit, but no statement was made after the meeting, Anatolia reported.
Turkey and Brazil, both non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, are opposed to fresh sanctions against Iran, sought by the United States, and have recently stepped up diplomatic efforts to resolve the standoff.
Davutoglu said Friday he had proposed to host talks between top Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, as a representative of world powers in the so-called P5+1 group, to break the standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme.
Iran has welcomed the idea and a reply is awaited from Ashton, he said.
On Monday, Larijani was expected to attend a meeting of parliament speakers and lawmakers from 28 Muslim countries in Istanbul to discuss Israeli plans to expand Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, which have infuriated the Muslim world.
The secretary-general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and Erdogan were also expected to attend the talks.
The Turkish, Syrian and Qatari leaders discussed also the Israeli settlement plans in their talks on Sunday, branding them “unacceptable” and stressing that “Israel must abandon these policies,” Davutoglu said.
They also urged “an end to actions that will harm efforts to preserve the historical and religious identity of East Jerusalem,” he said.
Assad was in Turkey for a two-day visit, scheduled to end later Sunday, while the Qatari emir arrived earlier in the day and left after the meeting.