A trilateral meeting of foreign and defense ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran, due in Moscow on December 20, may herald a new format of peace talks on Syria, the chief of the Asia and Middle East Center at the Russian Institute of Strategic Research, Anna Glazova, has told TASS.

“This meeting will herald a new format of negotiations on Syria, in which regional countries participating in the conflict in Syria will be involved directly and where the US Administration will not be playing a direct role,” Glazova said. “Also, it will be the first meeting ahead of the forthcoming direct negotiations between the Syrian government, on the one hand, and radical opposition militants, on the other. The talks are due in Astana.”

“Taking part in the talks will be delegates from Russia, Iran, Turkey and other countries that would like to see a peace settlement process start in Syria as soon as possible. This is a fundamental change in the diplomatic space because the talks with the so-called opposition that have been held in Geneva for so many years never yielded any tangible results,” she believes.

“Russia has long urged the United States to separate the opposition from the terrorists in order to jointly fight against those who have been recognized as members of terrorist organizations,” Glazova said. “Nothing of the sort has happened to this day. These days such calls have gone irrelevant. Nobody has to be separated from anybody any more. Russia is beginning to talk directly to those militants fighting in Syria who display the readiness to lay down weapons. As a matter of fact, this is a far more effective and reliable format that brings us closer to peace and to reconstructing the country without redundant, empty and meaningless negotiations.”

Glazova touched upon the United States’ stance on Syria.

“The process of changing the political leadership in the United States has placed Washington’s policy in the region and in Syria in particular in a very strange position: the outgoing US Administration is trying to take steps that would turn the situation from bad to worse, while a future Administration declared the intention to cooperate with Russia in Syria and in the Middle East in general. This has demonstrated to Russia and to all countries in the region that at this stage it will make no use to talk to the United States at this stage,” she said.