LUCCA, APRIL 10 – The situation in Syria was on the agenda of a phone call today between the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano, in Lucca for the G7 meeting, and his Iranian colleague, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Italy’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif repeated Tehran’s condemnation of the “unacceptable use of chemical weapons” in a Syrian town last week.
The statement says Alfano urged Iran to use its influence with the Syrian regime “to avoid new attacks, completely eliminate chemical weapons and assure a cease-fire.”
According to Italy’s ministry, the two men agreed to continue their conversation with “a common goal of preventing an escalation of violence” and relaunching a political process for stabilizing Syria.
Group of Seven foreign ministers are sitting down in Italy for their first roundtable session at a meeting dominated by Syria’s civil war and Russia’s role in it. Diplomats from the Mideast, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, are scheduled to discuss Syria on the sidelines of the G-7 foreign ministers meeting in Italy on Tuesday.
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano greeted U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the other G-7 diplomats as they arrived Monday at the centuries-old Ducal Palace in the Tuscan city of Lucca.
The foreign ministers of Italy, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Canada then sat around a table to begin their talks.
Tillerson is due to travel to Moscow after the two-day G-7 meeting, and the group hopes to send a unified message that Russia must end its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in the wake of a deadly chemical weapons attack last week. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says the group is discussing imposing new sanctions on Syrian military figures and Russian military individuals responsible for backing them.