MOSCOW, December 22. / TASS /. Russia, Iran, and Turkey have reaffirmed their intention to hold a summit in the Astana format as soon as conditions permit, according to a joint statement following the results of the 17th International Meeting on Syria in this format.
“[The sides] recalled the Joint Statement of 1 July 2020 to hold the next Tripartite Summit in the Islamic Republic of Iran as soon as conditions permit,” the statement reads.
Furthermore, the parties confirmed their plans to “convene the 18th International Meeting on Syria in the Astana format in Nur-Sultan in the first half of 2022 taking into consideration the pandemic situation” and also “arrange another ministerial meeting in the Astana format.”
Russia, Iran, and Turkey condemned the growing terrorist activity in various parts of Syria, which results in casualties among civilians and damage to civilian infrastructure. The parties to the Astana format confirmed the need for cooperation in order to eradicate all terrorist groups in the country.
The member countries also addressed the developments in the Idlib de-escalation zone and agreed to make further efforts to improve the humanitarian situation there. The sides emphasized the need to maintain peace amid the full implementation of all existing agreements on Idlib.
“[The states] expressed serious concern over the increased presence and terrorist activity of “Hayat Tahrir al Sham” (banned in Russia) and other affiliated terrorist groups as designated by the UN Security Council that pose a threat to civilians inside and outside the Idlib de-escalation zone,” according to the joint statement.
Humanitarian situation in Syria
Russia, Iran, and Turkey rejected unilateral sanctions against Syria, expressing grave concern over the humanitarian situation in the country and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which presents a profound challenge to the socio-economic situation.
“In order to support the improvement of the humanitarian situation in Syria and the progress in the process of the political settlement, [the parties] called upon the international community, the United Nations and its humanitarian agencies, to enhance their assistance to the whole of Syria through early recovery and resilience-building projects including the restoration of basic infrastructure assets – water and power supply facilities, schools and hospitals as well as on humanitarian demining in accordance with international humanitarian law,” the statement reads.
The parties also castigated the ongoing Israeli military attacks against Syria, which “violate international law, international humanitarian law, the sovereignty of Syria and neighboring countries, endanger the stability and security in the region and called for the cessation of them.” They “stressed that Israel’s abuse of civil aircraft as a cover in its aggressions on Syrian territory is in stark violation of international regulations, endangering the lives of civilians.”
The guarantor countries emphasized the significant role of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva and expressed their commitment to support it through continuous interaction with the Syrian parties to the Constitutional Committee and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.
“We noted the convening of the 6th round of the Drafting Commission of the Syrian Constitutional Committee between 18-22 October in Geneva and called for holding its 7th round as soon as possible with a constructive approach by the Syrian parties,” the statement reads.
“[The sides] expressed the conviction that the work of the Committee should respect the Terms of Reference and Core Rules of Procedure to enable the Committee to implement its mandate of preparing and drafting for popular approval a constitutional reform as well as achieving progress in its work and be governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement without foreign interference and externally imposed timelines aimed at reaching the general agreement of its members,” the guarantor countries mentioned.
Return of refugees
Russia, Turkey, and Iran also emphasized the need to facilitate the safe, dignified and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of residence in Syria, ensuring their right to return and the right to support.
“In this regard, [the sides] called upon the international community to provide the necessary assistance to Syrian refugees and IDPs and reaffirmed their readiness to continue interaction with all relevant parties, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other specialized international agencies,” the joint statement reads.
The countries hailed the successful operation for the mutual release of detainees on December 16, 2021, and noted that this operation confirmed their determination to increase and expand their cooperation as part of the Working Group. “[The sides] agreed that the scale of future operations on the release of detainees needs to be increased, and the activities of the Working Group – to be extended to the handover of bodies and identification of missing persons,” according to the statement.
Sources from: TASS
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