The agenda of talks between Vladimir Putin, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani and President of the Turkish Republic Recep Tayyip Erdogan includes further joint steps towards a long-term settlement in the Syrian Arab Republic.
Following the meeting, the heads of state adopted a Joint Statement and gave a news conference.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, Mr Rouhani, Mr Erdogan,
First of all, I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation and coming to the Russian city of Sochi to discuss the further actions of Russia, Iran and Turkey regarding the Syrian issue.
Within the Astana process, which was launched two years ago, we managed to create a truly efficient mechanism of direct contacts between the Syrian government and the armed opposition. Astana and Sochi have hosted 11 meetings with the participation of Russian, Iranian and Turkish delegations, as well as Syrian parties, international observers and UN representatives. These meetings facilitated the progress in achieving a peace settlement in the Syrian Arab Republic. At the moment, a ceasefire is being observed almost everywhere in Syria and the level of violence is gradually decreasing. It is certainly a positive result that we have achieved together.
The Astana format laid the foundation for a sustainable and viable process of the political and diplomatic settlement of the Syrian crisis based on Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council. The Syrians themselves agreed to launch the process at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress here in Sochi in January 2018. Our diplomats in coordination with the Syrian parties and the UN did a very good job forming the composition of the Constitutional Committee. It is important that the committee begins its work as soon as possible.
We also need to agree on how to provide for the final de-escalation in Idlib. We are managing the ceasefire in the province, but that does not mean we have to accept the presence of terrorist groups in Idlib. This is why I suggest examining practical steps that Russia, Turkey and Iran might take together to eradicate the terrorist stronghold completely.
We also need to discuss how the situation might develop in northeastern Syria considering the well-known statements made by US officials about the possible withdrawal of US troops from there. Last month President Erdogan and I discussed this issue in Moscow and agreed that security problems in northeastern Syria as well as other parts of the country must be addressed solely on the basis of full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the republic.
Humanitarian aid for Syria deserves constant attention. Russia, Iran and Turkey are making joint efforts to restore normal life in the country and help Syrians with post-war reconstruction. There already are concrete results. Over the last six months alone 130,000 Syrian refugees managed to return home safely. Conditions have been created for the safe and unrestricted access of humanitarian aid to war-stricken districts. The number of Syrians unable to receive such aid is a third of what is was. Nevertheless, about 500,000 people still need help. We hope that the entire international community, especially the UN and its specialised agencies, will become more actively involved in providing support to all Syrians in an unpoliticised way and without preliminary conditions.
Colleagues, I would like to express my confidence that today’s talks will be productive and the agreements we will reach will serve the further restoration of peace and security in the Syrian Arab Republic, strengthen its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity as well as make a significant contribution to the stability in the Middle East in general.
I would like to thank you for your attention. I would like to give the floor to President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and then to President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. I am sure that our meeting today will be held in a positive atmosphere and yield results that all of us, as well as the region and the Syrian people, need.
Thank you for your attention. Please.