Putin hosts Erdogan, Rouhani in Sochi; Joint statement boasts of its accomplishments and commitments to ending Syrian civil war; Leaders announce new political process and their commitment to seeing it through, Nov. 24, 2017.
The presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia met in Sochi Wednesday for a summit centered on Syria, the leaders announcing the beginning of a political solution to the Syrian civil war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey for the tripartite summit, announcing success in its efforts in creating a de-escalation zone and nearly defeating Syria’s “terrorists”.
In a joint statement released following their private meeting, the leaders “expressed satisfaction with the current level of tripartite coordination on maintaining and strengthening the ceasefire regime in Syria, of which Iran, Russia and Turkey are guarantors.”
They claimed that “following several years of international efforts to defeat UNSC-designated terrorist groups in Syria” claiming that in the past 11 months they are “closer the elimination of ISIL, Nusra Front and all other terrorist organizations as designated by the UNSC [United Nations Security Council] and agreed that Iran, Russia and Turkey will continue cooperation for their ultimate defeat.”
On the creation of de-escalation areas established, which Israel has refused to honor as they undermine its security, they claimed that the zones are “quite efficient and greatly helped to reduce violence, alleviate the humanitarian suffering, curb the flow of refugees, and start working to provide conditions for the safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons,” and that “its achievements have become an effective instrument for contributing to peace and stability in Syria.”
The presidents confirmed they would continue with their “coordinated efforts to ensure that the progress in reduction of violence is irreversible,” and that their efforts would assist “restoring unity of the country” and “achieving а political solution of the crisis through an inclusive, free, fair and transparent Syrian-led and Syrian-owned process.”
They also claimed that the new political process would include “broad intra-Syrian dialogue involving representatives of all segments of Syrian society” and that “Iran, Russia and Turkey would have а positive effect on the overall situation in the region, and reduce the risk of ethnic and sectarian divide.”
Finally, the tripartite summit leaders called on the international community to “support the process of de-escalation and stabilization in Syria, inter alia, by sending additional aid to the Syrian people, facilitating the humanitarian mine action, preserving historical heritage, and restoring basic infrastructure assets, including social and economic facilities.”
The leaders announced they would hold another summit in the coming months.
The summit followed a private meeting between Putin and Syrian President Assad and a meeting held between the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Antalya, Turkey on Sunday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with his counterparts Mevlut Cavusoglu of Turkey and Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, the meeting centered on Syria. Cavusoglu also praised the talks held in Astana, stating on the conflict in Syria, “We have come a long way with Russia, especially in terms of the establishment of peace on the field and forming de-escalation zones. The situation on the field is much better compared to last year… We now have to concentrate on a political process, while continuing to target terrorist organizations like Daesh [Islamic State].
Israel has been clear that the de-escalation zones do not meet its demands for security, leaders, both political and defense, reaffirming to the international community that it has a right to act when needed in order and will continue to do so.
Prime Minister Netanyahu stated following the de-escalation zone agreement “Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed Iran’s threat close to Israel’s borders stating to his ministers “We will take a very firm stance against anyone who tries to attack us or attacks us from any area. I mean any source: rogue factions, organizations- anyone.”
Photo: Rouhani, Putin & Erdogan in Sochi, 2017