Moscow, 12 May 2023 (TDI): In a press statement, the Foreign Ministry of Russia expressed satisfaction with the successful meeting involving the foreign ministers from Türkiye, Syria, Iran, and Russia.
The assembly aimed to continue multilateral efforts to normalize relations between Türkiye and Syria. This meeting, resulting from ongoing diplomatic efforts, marks a significant step towards a more stable Middle East.
Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia; Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Foreign Minister of Iran; Faisal Mekdad, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Syria; Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Foreign Minister of Türkiye, participated in the session.
The foreign ministers expressed their pleasure with the progress made in the dialogues involving the military and special services of the three countries. The meeting followed the second gathering of the defense ministers of the four countries in April 2023, demonstrating the commitment of all parties to resolving the conflict in Syria and improving relations among the neighboring countries.
At the deputy foreign minister level, the quadrilateral consultations on April 4, 2023, prepared the environment for this summit. They reflected the growing momentum towards normalizing relations between Syria and its regional neighbors. The foreign ministers appreciated their counterparts for accepting the invitation and coming to Moscow to discuss this critical issue.
The launch of the process of Türkiye-Syria normalization involving all three countries that are guarantors of the Astana Format, proving its viability, exerts a noticeable positive influence not only on the situation around Syria but on the overall atmosphere throughout the Middle East.
The normalization of Saudi Iranian relations reached in Beijing on 10 March 2023 was also noted as a positive development that added momentum to restoring ties between Damascus and its regional neighbors, including Arab states.
The foreign ministers mentioned that over the past 12 months, the Syrian Arab Republic had normalized its relations with most of its regional neighbors. It was decided to invite Syria to resume its membership in the Arab League and participate in the League’s summit, scheduled to be held in Saudi Arabia, further indicating the positive progress made toward regional stability.
Before the Astana Format, the foreign ministers recognized that new possibilities and opportunities were emerging. They pledged to seize the probability presented by past contacts in this format between their counterparts from the defense ministries and special services. They underlined the value of politically formalizing progress and setting standardized rules for moving their initiatives forward.
The participating countries expressed their dedication to close cooperation in the relentless fight against terrorism and terrorist organizations. They emphasized the importance of countering any external incitement of separatist tendencies. They strongly condemned any gross interference in regional affairs, mainly through military force or the deployment of foreign military contingents on Syrian territory.
Russia also addressed concerns from recent reports of the United States’ involvement in forming the Free Syrian Army near Raqqa, Syria. It expressed objection to these operations because it considers they are meant to destabilize the area and undermine the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Russia’s military representatives have discussed this issue with their counterparts, and joint actions have been agreed upon to address this matter effectively. Furthermore, the country has consistently opposed unilateral sanctions that violate international humanitarian law and the UN Charter.
It stressed the importance of providing non-discriminatory and non-politicized humanitarian assistance to countries affected by armed conflicts and natural disasters.
The ministry highlighted the recent earthquake that caused significant loss of life and destruction in Türkiye and Syria. Despite this tragedy, it also expressed its disappointment that the United States and the European Union have not eased the inhumane and illegal anti-Syrian sanctions.
The funding for the UN humanitarian plan for the Syrian Arab Republic remains critically low, while the appeal for assistance in territories outside of Damascus’ control has been generously funded.
The upcoming Donors’ Conference for Syria, to be held on 15 June 2023, organized by the European Union, was also addressed. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed concern that Syrian representatives were not invited and emphasized prioritizing the safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their permanent residences in Syria.
The participating countries affirmed their commitment to support this principle. They discussed various areas of work that could be included in the roadmap, focusing on practical measures and indicative timelines for implementation.
Restoring Syrian government control over the entire country, ensuring border security, and facilitating the resumption of trade and economic interaction were highlighted as key priorities.
An agreement was reached to instruct experts to draft a roadmap for bringing Syria-Türkiye relations back to normal, which will be reviewed at the next ministerial meeting. The foreign ministers believe this document contains several principles supported by all parties to the quadrilateral format.