Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected US and Israeli calls for Moscow to persuade Iran to pull its forces out of Syria, saying it is an issue between Syria and Iran.
Iran Press/ Europe: Russian president, Vladimir Putin has said he cannot force Tehran to end its presence in Syria and that a possible withdrawal is an issue between Damascus and Tehran to decide.
The issue, however, can be discussed among Iran, Syria, and the US, with Russia joining the dialogue, he added in an address to the annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Thursday, Press TV reported.
Putin also said the countries calling for Iran to leave Syria should provide guarantees that they would not meddle in Syria's affairs.
With Israel and the US asking Russia to urge Iran to withdraw its advisers in Syria, Moscow has stated that Iran's presence in Syria is at the request of the legitimate government in Damascus.
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Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov last week dismissed Tel Aviv’s demand that Iran be forced out of Syria, saying it was none of Israel’s business, but Syria’s sovereign right whether to allow Iranian forces on its soil.
“This is a sovereign country led by a legitimate government. It can agree on cooperation with any other country, including Iran, Russia, Israel,” Bogdanov noted in an interview with the Israeli TV channel i24NEWS released last Thursday.
“That’s Syria’s sovereign right, and it’s not the business of a third party to intervene in these subjects of politics or policy of a sovereign country,” said Bogdanov, who is also a deputy foreign minister.
At the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran has been providing military advisory assistance to the Syrian army in its operations to eliminate terror groups.
Earlier in July, the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, in an interview with Iran's al-Aalam News Network said that his country needs the assistance of Iranian advisers and Hizbollah forces in Syria.
"Iran does not have any military bases in Syria, unlike Russia, but he said that if there is "a need for Iranian military bases, we will not hesitate to provide them," Syrian President insisted.
"American, French, Turkish and Israeli troops present in Syria are occupying forces," Bashar al-Assad added.
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