Comment by the Information and Press Department on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s upcoming visit to Astana for a ministerial meeting of the guarantor states of the Astana Process for Syria Settlement

Thursday, 15 March 2018 11:02

On March 16, the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, will host a meeting of foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey as guarantor states of the Astana Process. The meeting is timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the Astana format for a peace settlement in Syria.

There are plans for a reception at the residence of President Nursultan Nazarbayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The ministerial meeting is expected to assess progress made during the first year of trilateral interaction on Syria, including the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Sochi on January 30, and to review the situation on the ground as well as the successes and problems of the de-escalation process.

The meeting will map out new steps that could be taken to reduce violence in Syria, ease the humanitarian situation, and create favourable conditions for a political process that the Syrians themselves will promote and implement to achieve a stable settlement based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254, taking into account decisions made in Sochi.

We greatly appreciate the potential of the Astana Process as an important mechanism for facilitating a settlement in Syria. A lot has been achieved during the first year of its operation. Eight high-level international meetings have been held. Initial contacts between the delegations of the Syrian Government and the armed opposition have begun. Agreements have been reached on establishing de-escalation zones and forming a Working Group to oversee the liberation of detained hostages, the return of the bodies of those killed, and the search for those missing in action. Principles of humanitarian mine clearance have been defined.

We have firmly and consistently supported Syria’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Russian Aerospace Forces will continue to support the armed forces of the Syrian Arab Republic in the final elimination of terrorist groups on Syrian soil. The fight against terrorism should be a common cause for the entire international community. Double standards in this matter and attempts to divide terrorists into “good guys” and “bad guys” or make them serve someone’s geopolitical interests are unacceptable.

It is clear to us that the Astana Process retains much potential in returning a united Syria to peace, stability and calm. For this purpose, the three guarantor countries – Russia, Iran, and Turkey – invariably aim to strengthen their cooperation in order to make the negotiating process on the Syrian conflict resolution irreversible and based on regard for the interests of all citizens of that country without exception.

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