‘Astana trio to resist separatist plans against Syria’s sovereignty’

Türkiye, Russia and Iran, the guarantors of the Astana peace process established for a solution to the Syrian crisis, on Wednesday renewed their determination to stand against separatist agendas in the east of the Euphrates that aim to weaken Syria’s unity and threaten the national security of neighboring countries, including cross-border attacks and infiltrations.

The 19th Astana talks on “Syria” ended in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. In the end, Türkiye, Russia and Iran, the guarantors of the Astana talks, issued a joint statement.

The trio pledged in a joint statement after the talks to further resist “separatist plans aimed at undermining Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and threatening the national security of neighboring countries, including through cross-border attacks and infiltration.”

Guided by the agreements reached by the tripartite summit of the guarantor countries of the Astana Process on July 19, 2022, in Tehran, they examined the latest international and regional developments and emphasized the leading role of the Astana Process in the peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis, according to the statement.

As stated, they reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria as well as to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and highlighted that these principles should be universally respected and complied with.

The trio also “expressed their determination to continue working together to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as threatening the national security of neighboring countries, including through cross-border attacks and infiltrations.”

The joint statement condemned the increased presence and activities of terrorist groups and their affiliates under different names in various parts of Syria, including the attacks targeting civilian facilities and IDP camps, which result in the loss of innocent lives. Also, they highlighted the necessity to fully implement all arrangements related to the north of Syria.

“They underlined the need to respect and abide by these principles by all parties,” it emphasized.

The three countries “reviewed in detail the situation in the Idlib de-escalation area. Agreed to make further efforts to ensure sustainable normalization of the situation there and improve the humanitarian situation in and around the area. Highlighted the necessity to maintain calm on the ground by fully implementing all agreements on Idlib.”

“At the meeting, our interlocutors were informed about our Operation Claw-Sword and our determination in the fight against terrorism was emphasized. On the occasion of the meeting, our interlocutors offered their condolences for the terrorist act that took place in Istanbul,” a statement by Türkiye also said.

The Astana meeting was initiated by Türkiye, Iran and Russia to bring the warring sides in Syria together to find a permanent solution to the 10-year-long war. The main agenda items have been the constitutional system, the political transition, security and resettlement. The first meeting of the Astana process was in Türkiye in January 2017 to facilitate U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva.

The last Astana format talks on Syria were held this June.

A council resolution adopted in December 2015 unanimously endorsed a road map to peace in Syria that was approved in Geneva on June 30, 2012, by representatives of the U.N., the Arab League, the European Union, Türkiye and all five permanent UNSC members – the U.S., Russia, China, France and Britain.

It calls for a Syrian-led political process starting with the establishment of a transitional governing body, followed by the drafting of a new constitution and ending with U.N.-supervised elections. The resolution says the free and fair elections should meet “the highest international standards” of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians – including members of the diaspora – eligible to participate. At a Russian-hosted Syrian peace conference in January 2018, an agreement was reached to form a 150-member committee to draft a new constitution, which took until September 2019.

Several previous rounds of talks have not brought any substantial progress. The opposition has been demanding a new constitution, while Assad’s regime proposed that the current charter be amended.

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