Executive Intelligence Review


Astana Meeting Reasserts Commitment to Syrian Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity

May 15, 2018 (EIRNS)—The ninth meeting of the Astana format of talks on Syria concluded today, with a joint statement issued by the Russian, Iranian and Turkish representatives, reaffirming their commitment to the sovereignty of Syria and to settling the conflict in that country. The next Astana format meeting will be held in Sochi, Russia in July 2018.

Aside from the representatives of Russia, Iran, and Turkey—the three guarantor governments—UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura was also in attendance, along with an observer delegation from Jordan. The armed opposition from Syria attended, headed by Ahmad Toma. According to Kazakhstan’s Kazinform news service, Toma told the plenary session that Astana is the only place where the Syrian opposition wants to hold negotiations and will not go to another venue. The U.S. sent no representation to today’s Astana meeting.

The joint statement today, posted on Russia’s Foreign Ministry website, says that Russia, Iran and Turkey, acting as guarantors of the settlement process, reaffirmed “their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.”

They also “Emphasized the importance of the implementation of the Memorandum on the creation of the de-escalation areas in the Syrian Arab Republic of 4 May 2017” and other agreements reached since the beginning of the Astana process. The governments

“underlined the key role” of the de-escalation zones in stabilizing the situation in Syria and stressed the need to ensure humanitarian access for all Syrians and to help create the conditions for the safe return of refugees and displaced persons to their original communities.”

Among other things, the statement also reaffirmed the determination of all three governments to eliminate what remains of all terrorist groups, including ISIS and al-Qaeda and related groups from Syria.