Comment by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following a meeting with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev on the sidelines of a meeting of the guarantor states of the Astana process, Astana, March 16, 2018

Friday, 16 March 2018 11:25

On my own behalf and on behalf of my colleagues from Iran and Turkey, I would like to thank President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and the entire Kazakh leadership for the hospitality accorded to the participants in this regular meeting within the framework of the Astana process. This time, it was a meeting of foreign ministers and it marked a very important step in promoting a settlement in Syria.

We assessed the work of the Astana format over the past year.

We stated that, despite sporadic incidents, the level of violence has dropped significantly after the establishment of four de-escalation zones and that essential progress has been made in tackling humanitarian problems.

Certainly, we reaffirmed our determination to continue the painstaking, uncompromising fight against remainder of terrorist groups identified as such by the UN Security Council.

We again reiterated that positive changes on the ground in Syria enable us at present to transition to active efforts towards launching political negotiations on the future state system of Syria on the basis of the principles approved by the overwhelming majority of Syrian ethnic, religious, political and social groups that gathered in Sochi on January 30, 2018. The Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi adopted the Final Statement creating all necessary pre-requisites for the UN to step up its work and in keeping with the recommendations of the three guarantor states – Russia, Turkey and Iran – to form a constitutional committee that will represent all layers of Syrian society. I hope that this will be done fairly quickly.

We agreed upon a summit meeting of the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran to be held in Turkey on April 4, during which new additional approaches will be coordinated on how to advance and put to life the principles of a settlement, approved at the UN Security Council and actively supported by the Astana process.

Yet another important decision reached today is the creation of a working group to liberate the detained hostages, recover the bodies of those killed and search for those missing, which is setting down to work in cooperation with representatives from the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

We again thanked President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev for his attention to our work and the efforts being taken by our Kazakh friends to create the most favourable and comfortable atmosphere possible for our work and for addressing complicated political matters. 

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