Despite years of disagreements on Syria, leaders of Turkey, France, Germany, and Russia have worked out a common vision of the steps to reconciliation in the war-torn country as they met in Istanbul. Here’s the summary of it.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who hosted the talks, was joined by Russia’s Vladimir Putin and France’s Emmanuel Macron, as well as Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. Following the summit, the four leaders held a joint press conference and released a communique, highlighting what common ground they had found during the four-way talks.
- Only political solution for Syria
- The leaders have “expressed their support for an inclusive, Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process that is facilitated by the United Nations.”
- Need to start work on constitution in Geneva
- A committee set to draft a new constitution for Syria should begin its work as soon as possible, preferably before the end of this year.
- No to division of Syria
- Syria must continue to exist within its pre-war borders. Any separatist movements or desires of foreign powers to occupy parts of the country are therefore firmly rejected.
- Keep ceasefire & defeat terrorists
- The four countries have expressed their support for the Idlib ceasefire deal, brokered earlier by Russia and Turkey. At the same time, they emphasized the importance of fighting terrorism and condemned the usage of chemical weapons.
- Boost humanitarian aid
- The United Nations and other international organizations should bolster aid deliveries to the war-torn country. “Swift, safe and unhindered” flow of humanitarian aid will provide much needed relief to the sufferings of the Syrian people.
- Help return of refugees
- The four leaders stressed the importance of “safe and voluntary” return of refugees to Syria. To facilitate the process, appropriate housing and social care facilities must be constructed in the country.
- Internationally-observed elections
- The ultimate goal of the political settlement process is holding transparent, internationally-observed elections, the statement reads. All Syrians, including those who had to flee the country, must be able to participate.
Syria ‘rejects UN plan’ on constitution committee – outgoing envoy de Mistura
The outgoing UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told the Security Council on October 26 that Damascus rejects the composition of a committee proposed by the world body to draw up a new constitution. The envoy, who is due to step down in November, said Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem had rejected a central element of the committee, which the UN hopes could provide the basis for ending the seven-year civil war. De Mistura has been working since January on the makeup of a committee to hammer out a new constitution. It would have 150 members: 50 proposed by the Syrian government, 50 by the opposition and 50 by the UN, to include representatives of civil society and technical experts, AFP reports. The envoy said it was the last list of UN-proposed names that the Syrians had rejected during talks on Wednesday. According to the diplomat, Muallem indicated that Damascus and Moscow “had agreed recently that the three Astana guarantors (Russia, Iran and Turkey) and the Syrian government would, in consultations among them, prepare a proposal as regards the third list.”