Leaders of Guarantor States of Astana Process Reaffirm Commitment to Syria's Territorial Integrity, Sovereignty

SOCHI-  The presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran adopted a joint statement following their trilateral summit in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi to reaffirm their commitment to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, Itar Tass reported.

The three-page 17-point document sums up the developments which took place in Syria since the three leaders' previous meeting in Tehran in September 2018. The sides stressed their determination to intensify trilateral coordination in line with the existing agreements and reaffirmed their "firm and unchanged commitment to sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic", as well as to goals and principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

 According to Tass, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said those principles must be observed by all nations, and no one must be allowed to erode them.

The three nations also "reject all attempts to create new order of things ‘on the ground’ under the guise of fighting against terrorism." Therefore, they express their readiness to counter separatist plans intended to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, as well as the national security of the neighboring states.

In this respect, the US government’s decision to withdraw its forces from Syria will be a step toward increasing stability and security in the country, the document reads.

Situation in Idlib

Besides, the sides held a detailed discussion on the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, condemned attempts by the Heiat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group to establish control in the area and agreed to efficiently counter those attempts. The three leaders also agreed to take practical measures to reduce tensions in the Idlib de-escalation zone by fully implementing the existing agreements in this sphere, including the September 17, 2018 memorandum on stabilization in Idlib.

Therefore, the three leaders have confirmed their determination to continue cooperation with an aim to eliminate the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusrah terrorist groups (outlawed in Russia), as well as all other individuals, groups, companies and organizations related to Al Qaeda (outlawed in Russia) and other terrorist groups.

The sides agreed to coordinate their operations in east Syria to ensure security and stability in the region.

"The Syrian conflict has no military solution and can be settled only through a political process, led and implemented by Syrians themselves with the UN assistance, in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254," the document reads.

In order to forge a prompt diplomatic solution, the sides are determined to assist in launching the Syrian constitutional committee within the shortest timeframe possible.

Return to peaceful life

The three leaders also stressed the importance of continuing efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to all civilians, to help the country return to peaceful life and to create conditions for safe return of displaced persons.

The next trilateral summit will be held in Turkey.

H.M

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