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Meeting of leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey on Syrian settlement

July 1, 2020, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a trilateral videoconference meeting of the heads of state – guarantors of the Astana process for facilitating the Syrian peace settlement.

Following the meeting, the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey adopted a joint statement.

The presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran held their first summit on Syria in Sochi in November 2017. Talks on the Syrian settlement between the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran were also held in Ankara (April 2018), Tehran (September 2018), Sochi (February 2019) and Ankara (September 2019).

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Speech at the meeting of leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey on Syrian settlement

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,

Mr Rouhani, Mr Erdogan,

I am also pleased to see all of you today and have a chance to discuss one of the most sensitive issues on the current international agenda.

However, before we start, I would like to express my condolences to the President of Iran over the tragic accident in Tehran. We know that an explosion occurred in one of the outpatient clinic of Tehran. There are casualties and some people were wounded. Please, accept my heartfelt condolences.

Friends, the last time we met as heads of state – guarantors of the Astana process for facilitating the Syrian peace settlement was in Ankara in September 2019. There were plans to meet in Tehran in May but we could not meet for obvious reasons. I appreciate our Iranian colleagues’ initiative to arrange this summit via videoconference.

I agree with Mr Rouhani in his evaluation of the efficiency and relevance of our joint work on Syria. We have managed to achieve a lot by working together. The level of violence in Syria has significantly decreased, and peaceful life is gradually being restored, but the key is that a foundation has been established for a sustainable political and diplomatic settlement based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254. As you know, this document contains the fundamental principle – adherence to Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.

One of the main objectives of this videoconference is to jointly analyse the current state of affairs there and to agree on what else could be done to ensure long-term normalisation in the Syrian Arab Republic.

I am referring primarily to continuing the fight against international terrorism. We also need to think about what other measures are necessary to neutralise the terrorist groups that are still active.

The most tense situation remains in the territories outside the Syrian government’s control – in the Idlib de-escalation zone and in the northeast of the country, on the west bank of the Euphrates River where ISIS activities have significantly increased.

Regarding Idlib, we continue to work closely with our Turkish friends to implement the agreements of the Sochi Memorandum of September 17, 2018 and Additional Protocol thereto of March 5, 2020. Apparently, not all the issues have been resolved yet, however, the efforts being taken are yielding certain results. For example, the situation in the de-escalation zone has stabilised considerably since the ceasefire was introduced.

As to the prospects for the political process, we need to promote the inclusive intra-Syrian dialogue within the framework of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva. Proposals were made to support this process, help its participants meet and launch a direct dialogue to start drafting parameters for the future state structure of Syria. It was agreed on at the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue in Sochi in January 2018, which was made possible, by the way, thanks to the concerted efforts of the Astana process guarantors. Our three nations could also do a lot for the post-conflict settlement in Syria, for the restoration of the economy and social sphere, and for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons. Given the spread of the coronavirus infection, coordination of our efforts on the humanitarian track is becoming increasingly necessary.

The conflict in Syria, the confrontation with the terrorists, has been ongoing for a number of years which naturally affects the country’s economic situation. The sanctions imposed on Syria, which sidestep the UN Security Council and are, in essence, illegitimate and illegal, also have a negative effect. According to the World Food Organisation, over 9 million Syrians, which is a half of the population, need food aid.

Despite that and the UN Secretary-General’s appeal to ease the sanctions under the pandemic, both Washington and Brussels made the decision to extend the restrictions against Damascus. Moreover, new sanctions have been imposed aimed, obviously, at suffocating the Syrian Arab Republic economically. This is why it is so crucial to consider ways to streamline humanitarian aid via our respective channels and support the Syrian people.

Colleagues, a joint statement has been drafted for this meeting which reflects the coordinated approaches of our three nations towards further steps on the Syrian track. In particular, goals have been set to interact on completely eliminating the terrorist groups and on promoting the political process as sustained by the Syrians themselves under UN guidance. The Russian side supports this document which shows the commitments of Russia, Iran and Turkey as the Astana process guarantors to pursue consistent joint work in order to establish a truly lasting peace and stability in Syria. I confirm my readiness to meet in Tehran as soon as conditions allow, and I thank President Rouhani for the invitation.

Thank you very much.

July 1, 2020, The Kremlin, Moscow